BP Subject of Justice Department's Criminal Investigation

Jeanne Sager

Flickr photo by hill.josh
BP is officially under investigation by the US Department of Justice for suspected criminal activities.

Can I get an amen? Maybe a woohoo?

If any laws were broken in the worst oil spill in the country's history, President Barack Obama made a "solemn pledge" for justice.

But what does this do for the heavy financial burden laying on the nation's taxpayers and those in the Gulf states? What about the private citizens' losses?

Even with a financial loss of $75 million so far, BP has been deemed stable enough -- or rich enough -- by financial analysts to survive this crisis. But the federal cost of the oil spill was close to $87 million already last week. 

The federal government could recoup monies via fines levied for the violation of clean water laws and the Endangered Species Act.

BP is also expected to face heavy civil penalties. Already the company claims to have paid out $36 million in response to some 26,000 claims for damages.

Among them is a $25 million award to the State of Louisiana to help defray the state's cleanup costs -- although a portion of that is being eaten up by the Louisiana legal bills in the fight against BP. And federal orders to shut down drilling are only worrying lawmakers further over the loss in revenues.

The investigation sounds like a reason to cheer, but even those won't drown out the screams of desperation in the Gulf.


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