The Obama administration has taken an increasingly aggressive tone towards those responsible for the spill. The possibility of criminal charges is seen as the next rational step in a crisis that is beginning to overshadow President Obama's agenda.
Although this fact is occasionally lost in the focus on the damage the spill continues to create, it is important to remember that 11 people died in the rig explosion.
The investigation is now looking into violations of the Clean Water Act, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, as well as criminal charges, the New York Times reports.
"BP will cooperate with any inquiry that the Department of Justice undertakes ..." the company said in a statement.
The administration has become increasingly vocal in what is becoming not only an environmental disaster, but a public relations disaster as well. Challenging the situation is the fact that the problem cannot be solved by sheer will or manpower, it will hinge on engineering expertise, something that is not usually the specialty of the White House.
George Haddow, a disaster management expert, believes that in terms of situation and scale, it is one of the most challenging and unique situations he has seen, "...it's one that doesn't stop -- it's as if Katrina sat on top of New Orleans for six weeks without going away," said Haddow.
- U.S. Opens Criminal Inquiry Into Oil Spill (NYTimes)
- Federal Criminal and Civil Probes into Gulf Oil Spill Are Under Way, Holder Says (ABA Journal)
- Attorney General Eric Holder on Gulf Oil Spill (Department of Justice)
- BP Oil Spill May Be Worst in US History (FindLaw's Injured)
- Wrongful Death Overview (provided by Culpepper | Kurland)
- Personal Injury / Wrongful Death FAQ (provided by Law Offices of Michael M. Kaplan, P.C.)