Has BP committed an environmental crime?
U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, thinks so. “Without question the word ‘criminal’ should be used in terms of an environmental crime against our country,” Markey said Sunday in an interview on Face the Nation. “I have no confidence whatsoever in BP. I think they do not know what they were doing, in terms of anything that they’re doing is going to turn out as they’re predicting.”
Those are harsh words, coming from a Congressman who heads a committee investigating the disaster. “Environmental crime” is not an example of political grandstanding or hyperbole. It is a crime to violate particular environmental laws. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) investigates environmental crimes through its Office of Criminal Enforcement. The FBI also investigates and brings criminal charges for environmental crimes, such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 and Rocky Flats in 1992. Rocky Flats made materials for nuclear weapons and was considered one of the worst nuclear waste disasters.
BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico dwarfs the Exxon Valdez spill. It’s clearly the worst oil spill to ever occur near the United States. Oil continues to gush into the Gulf as every attempt to stem its flow has failed. Now, we learn, it may not be until the end of summer before the spill is over.
What do you think? Does the BP spill qualify as an “environmental crime?” Should BP be so charged? All this week on OurValues.org, we’ll consider this question. In case you missed it, yesterday’s post was about the 1st Memorial Day—if you don’t know about this event in 1865, take a look—You might be as surprised as I was!
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(Originally posted in www.OurValues.org)