Would Federal Intervention in Oil Disaster Make U.S. Liable?

Publication: CNN

Author: Ed Hornick


06/03/2010 - Nearly seven weeks into the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, the Obama administration is facing increasing calls to take over the cleanup operation from beleaguered oil giant BP.

While the government has the legal means of doing that, the consequences might ultimately hurt the government.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Justice Department has launched a criminal and civil investigation into devastating spill and BP's actions. He said the investigation, which began weeks ago, would be comprehensive and aggressive.  He also said federal officials will prosecute anyone who broke the law.

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Christopher Mann, an environmental expert at the nonpartisan Pew Environment Group, said the commission will likely call for stricter regulation and new operating procedures.

Because of deregulation in past presidencies, "we're paying the piper. ... Sooner or later, stuff happens. It's just a shame it had to happen in such a huge way," he said.

"If any good can come from this, it could be the push for more balanced regulation that doesn't tip so blindingly for production -- but one that considers the real environmental risks and plans for worst-case scenarios," he added. "In light of an accident this horrendous, you have to really wonder if it's worth the risk."

Read the full article, Would Federal Intervention in Oil Disaster Make U.S. Liable? on CNN's Web site.

The Pew Environment Group’s offshore energy reform work is now a part of Pew’s Arctic Ocean Program.  

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