NEW ORLEANS -Late last week, BP and Halliburton successfully won a joint bid to obtain the rights to the oil that leaked into the Gulf Coast after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in December, 2010.
The bid’s approval came hours after New Orleans Judge Carl Barbier found BP responsible for exactly “67 percent” of the spill and Halliburton responsible for “3 percent.” Since BP was found guilty of “gross negligence”—and not just “your run-of-the-mill I-left-my-kid-in-the-car-when-I-went-to-pick-up-my-dry-cleaning negligence,” according to Barbier—the civil fines BP must pay will be quadrupled to upwards of $18 billion. This figure represents a far greater amount than the $4.5 billion it paid to the U.S. government in order to settle its criminal liability in the oil spill.
Representatives for both BP and Halliburton have sworn to appeal the decision. They also argue that their valuable oil is regularly stolen by “sea animals” with no claim to the oil on or under the Gulf of Mexico. The companies’ winning bid now gives them the rights to the free-floating oil, as well as to the means to pay off this fine
“It’s an absolute travesty,” said Gorgon P. Zoot, one of the attorneys for BP. “You’ve got these bleeding-heart liberals complaining that the poor sea life is being devastated. Well, I was out there like two days ago and you know what I saw? Dolphins swimming up to the remaining oil patches, covering their fins in black gold, and then heading back out to sea—that’s what! Now in the America I know, that’s called theft of property.”
Lawyers for Halliburton released a similar statement earlier this week, in which they argued that the billions of gallons of oil that were purposely removed from the shorelines of the Gulf Coast during the clean up are actually worth far more than the fines they were asked to pay, and so they should be exempted from further fiduciary penalties.