The BP (NYSE:BP) oil spill was a total disaster on many levels. However, unlike the mess on Wall Street, the US government wants the culprits to make us whole for the damage done to the economy.
Yesterday, the US Justice Department filed a civil lawsuit against BP, rig owner Transocean Ltd. (NYSE:RIG), insurer QBE Underwriting Ltd./Lloyd’s Syndicate 1036, Triton Asset Leasing GMBH, Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE:APC), and MOEX Offshore 2007 LLC.
If found guilty, however, damages could reach billions of dollars. According to the Clean Water Act, companies at fault can be fined $1,100 for every barrel of oil they spill in U.S. waters.
That is some serious loot.
Although these companies have earmarked monies to deal with lawsuits, this is still going to be a painful process as taxpayers want their money back for literally cleaning up someone else’s mess.
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