On Friday, the Financial Times reported that BP is hoping to reach an agreement with U.S. authorities which would require it to pay under $15 billion to settle all criminal and civil penalties arising from the 2010 Gulf oil disaster. The Department of Justice is reportedly seeking $20 to $25 billion. Negotiations between the DOJ and BP are accelerating and "an agreement could be reached before the Democratic party's convention in September," the FT reported.
While $15 billion sounds like a lot of money -- and it is -- it is a far cry from what BP owes for the many costs associated with the largest offshore oil spill in history. To date, a full accounting of exactly what BP should owe for its crimes in the Gulf has not been made public. Such an accounting is vital if we are to ensure that justice and restoration are delivered to the Gulf Coast and that such a catastrophe never occurs again.
A straightforward application of just the most pertinent U.S. laws yields a fine of $192 billion. (For simplicity sake, I only address BP's fines.)
Sound high? Here's why it's not. (read more)
Chevron knew full well that an executive at its PR agency, Ogilvy PR, had ties to the Andean parliamentary president in Ecuador, Ivonne Baki, and fired the shop because the agency failed to bend the Ecuadoreans to its will, not because it was a conflict of interest: That, in a nutshell, is the conspiracy theory alleged by The Chevron Pit, a blog maintained by rain forest activists who successfully sued Chevron for its pollution of the Latin American jungle.
Chevron ostensibly fired Ogilvy after it discovered that one of its executives, Felipe Benitez, had given advice to both the Ecuadorean government and environmental groups hoping to preserve the Amazon. We pointed out that the move seemed weird because Benitez's LinkedIn profile listed the fact that he had those clients dating back to 2008, so this shouldn't have come as a surprise.
Chevron Pit now alleges that Chevron knew about Benitez all along and was hoping that he could sway the government to not enforce an $18 billion judgment environmental activists won against the company for polluting the forest:
There is simply no way Chevron could not have known that the firm of its lead lobbyist on the Ecuador matter was also representing Ecuador's government. In fact, we suspect that was all part of the "value" Ogilvy was offering Chevron for its fee of $600,000 per year.(read more)
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