Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy

Latest Episodes

Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
BP oil spill: The legacy

BP spill trial enters phase that’s all about the money

Dan Weissmann Sep 30, 2013
Share Now on:
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Phase two of the trial pitting BP against the federal government opens on Monday, as the court tries to decide how much to fine the company for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  The biggest question in this phase will be:  How big was the spill?

In the worst case, BP could be fined more than $17 billion — a bit more than the company’s profits for 2012

The fine will be based on a simple equation:  A dollar amount per barrel of oil (probably in the thousands)  times the number of barrels of oil spilled.  In the next weeks the court will hear about the how-many-barrels part.

The feds and BP have both submitted estimates, and they’ll both put experts on the stand to say why their number is better. 

According to law professor David Uhlmann from the University of Michigan, here’s where the court’s problems begin.  There’s no way to really know.

“There weren’t any meters,” he says. “There wasn’t any measuring device.  There’s no way to determine precisely how much oil was spilled.” 

Here’s where the company’s track record so far could hurt it. Loyola University law professor Blaine LeCesne says BP has repeatedly put out numbers that lowballed its liability.

“I think when you cry wolf enough, at some point it could affect your creditability on other issues down the line.”

If that’s how the judge sees things, it could make a several-billion-dollar difference to BP.

If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air.  But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.

Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.

When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.

Make a good investment!

Looking for a great deal?
Get ALL THREE of our new thank-you gifts when you donate $120.

This is a limited time offer – so act soon!