February 26, 2013
Deepwater Horizon: the Government on Trial?
Now that the criminal charges against BP and its drilling contractor have been settled and cannot be reopened under the principal of double jeopardy, we can expect to see an argument develop over who should be responsible when the government takes charge under the National Contingency Plan. Because the "responsible party," Exxon Mobil, proved to be unprepared for the job in the wake of the grounding of the Exxon Valdez in Prince William Sound in 1989, Subtitle B, Sec. 4202 of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 provides for the federal government to assume responsibility in the person of a National Incident Commander according to the National Contingency Plan. President Obama declared the incident a Spill of National Significance, and appointed USCG Admiral Thad Allen as National Incident Commander on May 1, 2010. He and the government soon began giving orders. One prominent example was the decision to start not just one, bit two, relief wells. Among the many available well control methods...(Read Full Article)