BP criminal action will not safeguard against oil spills, say campaigners

Oil spill

The US Department of Justice has vowed to pursue BP and its contractors to pay for the full cost of the clean-up for the oil spill

Sanctions and legal action against BP unlikely to prevent further oil spill, say environmental groups that argue the US needs to cut its ties with oil industry

Oil giant BP is facing a criminal investigation into allegations that it broke laws in the lead up to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

It was already facing millions of dollars in compensation payments and clean-up costs after admitting 'full responsibilty' for the spill, in which more than 20 million gallons of oil have so far been released.

The US Justice Department will look at whether BP broke various environmental regulations on protecting habitats, water and wildlife against pollution.

Not the solution

However, environmental groups both within the US and abroad argue that any criminal case against BP is not the solution. The Sierra Club said the disaster was a 'wake up call' to government to act against the oil industry.

'We need to stop letting the oil industry call the shots and standing in the way of policies that would promote clean energy and safe, healthy jobs instead of more aggressive and dangerous forms of oil. It's time to move beyond oil,' said executive director Michael Brune.

Greenpeace agreed and said the US could not 'drill its way' to energy independence or security through offshore drilling projects. It said oil lobbyists should not be allowed to block moves towards cleaner forms of energy.

'As long as we continue to let oil companies like BP and Shell bully politicians, write our energy laws and bribe regulators, we will remain addicted to their dirty and dangerous fossil fuels. 

'President Obama should cut the polluter lobbyists out of the debate so we can finally move toward a clean energy revolution that is good for the country, not just for corporations,' said oceans campaign director John Hocevar

Useful links

Full details of criminal investigation being brought by US Justice Department

BP oil spill: can environmental crime ever be made to pay?
Million dollar fines and compensation claims may dent the profits of BP and other companies admitting responsibility for ecological disasters but, on their own, are they enough of a deterrent?
MMS - the three initials behind the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster
BP is in trouble. Big trouble. But others are to blame for the ongoing oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, and the US Mineral Management Service is at the top of the list...
We're all responsible for BP's oil spill disaster
Filled up your car recently? Bought new bike tyres? Popped any pills? Then you're in part responsible for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill...
VIDEO: why tar sands activists took on BP
A report from BP's recent AGM where activists fought to raise awareness of the oil giant's investment in tar sands - includes an interview with George Poitras, member of Mikisew Cree indigenous First Nation

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