Friday, December 5, 2008
BP and the EPA
"The former head of an EPA criminal probe into pipeline spills at a BP PLC oil field in Alaska claims the Justice Department prematurely shut down the investigation and settled with the company for less than the case may have warranted. ... BP admitted in October 2007 to the lack of maintenance in a plea agreement to a lesser misdemeanor charge. It agreed in federal court in Alaska to plead guility to the midemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act, to be fined $20 million and to serve three years probation. ... Nelson Cohen, the U.S. attorney for Alaska, said that opting for the $20 million fine was 'a judgment call' his office made. 'It's not my job to take every nickel from a defendant when they have done something wrong,' he said. 'Our job is to come up with what we feel is fair and just.' EPA officials say they agree with the final resolution of the case. EPA officials say the $20 million fine was among the highest fines ever won under the Clean Water Act. ... [Scott West] ... says there was an effort early on among EPA officials to look at possible illegal behavior, based on what he described as worker complaints that management repeatedly ignored warnings that the corrosion problem needed to be addressed. EPA officials said last week that such behavior was never proven", Jim Carlton at the WSJ, 19 November 2008.
This looks like another DOJ stinker. A "poor" judgment call? Fair to whom? I wonder if Cohen will join Fullbright & Jaworsky (F&J) here in Houston and "buddy" Don DeGabrielle (DD), my 24 November 2008 post? On 22 November 2007 I noted the District Court Judge had worked for F&J and F&J had represented BP in lawsuits which arose from the Texas City refinery explosion. On 12 August 2008, I speculated on DD's BigLaw partnership. It happened. Suppose a reasonable fine for BP was $1 billion. Since DD saved BP $950 million, could BP pay F&J $3 million a year in legal fees for the next 30 years so F&J can pay DD his say $1.5 million a year? Don't even think it. Check the facts.
DD is quoted, my 24 November 2008 post, as saying, "Mike always spoke highly of Fullbright, making it an easy next step for me", my emphasis. I believe DD. Very easy. Try to read this and not laugh. Check my sources. Small world? Cardinal Richelieu, 1585-1642, said, "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged". If the good Cardinal were alive today, he might say of the typical US Attorney, "One line, nay one word". I previously posted on BP and DD's triumph over BP here: