President Obama has said it every way it can be humanly said and as often as it can be said, “We are committed to recovering every red cent from BP” for the oil spill. Obama means every word of that. Congress, the public, and much of the media screams at BP to pay through the nose for the deaths, injuries, business and environmental damage its spill has caused. A high end estimate puts the cost at $25 to $30 billion for the damage. But estimates, public rage, and an enraged president, have meant little to BP. Its tin ear is due not only to the absurdly low $75 million liability cap on oil company damages, or the more than two dozen lobbyists and $20 million it’s spent since January, 2009 to arm twist Congress on energy legislation, energy jobs bills and derivatives legislation. Or, because it knows that the Justice Department and state prosecutors will have to scale a nearly insurmountable high legal wall to prove willful negligence and criminal culpability. And that its top gun legal brain trust can duck, dodge, stall, and water down lawsuits, judgments, and settlements for years.
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