Shocking: BP Forced to Pay What it Owes

BP Oil Spill

You may remember back in May I wrote, 60 Minutes Spins for BP. It was about one of the most disgraceful segments I have seen on the once great news program. After the BP oil spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, BP made general settlement with the businesses in the area. But three years later, after the heat was off, the company tried to backtrack. It noted that some business that hadn’t been directly harmed by the spill were getting money. Poor BP!

While there were certainly some highly questionable claims, there were thousands of others that were at best open to debate that BP also didn’t want to pay for. Basically, they agreed on a half billion dollar settlement — which was a great deal for them at that time — and now they were doing everything they could think of to take back some of that money. So they hired Ted “I stuck you with the worst president ever!” Olson to use every legal trick in the book to get BP out of its legal accountability.

That’s all to be expected from a soulless corporation and a legal hack. The true disgrace came in the form of the 60 Minutes segment that was a total whitewash of the situation. Although there were a couple of experts who pushed back against the BP case, the whole story was told just the way BP and Ted Olson wanted it. The segment could not have been any better if they had directed it themselves. As I noted at the time, “In the golden years with Mike Wallace, 60 Minutes took on the big guys and how they were screwing the little guys. Now? 60 Minutes wants us to decide whether the little guys are screwing the big guy BP, who just happens to have destroyed the Gulf of Mexico.”

Up until yesterday, BP has been losing all of its cases. As far as I can tell, the logic is clear. BP agreed to a settlement. Just because they would like to back out of it now is no reason why the courts should allow them to do it. I don’t think any of this surprised BP and its hired guns. But I suspect that they thought (as did I) that if only they could get it to the Supreme Court, there were four justices (and maybe a fifth) who would side with them, because, hey, when did facts ever get in the way of finding for a huge corporation when it was trying to screw the little guy. But that didn’t work this time.

Without dissent, the Supreme Court dismissed the case, “The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.” I looked up the word “certiorari” and it claims it is a writ that higher courts consider, which strikes me as kind of dumb — “writ of a writ”?! But what it means is, “Go away boy, you bother me!” This is very good news. It is nice to be reminded occasionally that evil does not always win in his country and that the conservatives on the court aren’t totally corrupt.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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