'Prosecute and seize BP's assets now!' cry rises

by Jesse Muhammad, Staff Writer
The Final Call Newspaper

Oil is still streaming into the Gulf of Mexico and BP efforts to fit a cap onto its broken wellhead did not halt the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

With pressure on the Obama administration to quell the environmental catastrophe, the federal government launched a criminal probe into a spill that now had tar balls washing ashore from the coasts of Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.

“If we find evidence of illegal behavior, we will be forceful in our response,” vowed U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in a press conference on June 1, after meeting with state and federal prosecutors in New Orleans.
Admiral Thad W. Allen of the Coast Guard, who is commanding the federal response to the disaster, recently told reporters, “I think we have to caution against over-optimism here.”

Adm. Allen noted approximately 1,000 gallons of oil was being collected but a large amount still escaped BP's cap and an estimated 12,000 to 19,000 barrels of oil was still spreading.

According to a BP press release, CEO Tony Hayward told investors in a phone conference, “Everyone at BP is heartbroken by this event, by the loss of life and by the damage to the environment and to the livelihoods of the people of the Gulf Coast. It should not have happened and we are bound and determined to learn every lesson to try and ensure it never happens again.”

But with the problem unresolved and gruesome images of dying wildlife spreading, environmental advocates and activists demanded Mr. Hayward be placed in handcuffs and BP's assets seized.

Phil Radford, president of Greenpeace, said, “The oil destroying our wetlands and the Gulf of Mexico is a tragic reminder of what we get when we let corporate polluters write our energy policy. BP must be held accountable for their crimes, and our government must stop listening to polluter lobbyists.”

Greenpeace was among the seven public interest groups joining Public Citizen in the streets of the nation's capital on June 4 to express public's outrage at BP's continued mismanagement of the crisis in the Gulf.

Members of Public Citizen said they went to the oil giant's offices in Washington, D.C., to express the “deep frustration of average Americans” by making a mock citizen's arrest of BP's CEO.

“BP has a long history of violating environmental and worker safety laws, as well as manipulating markets,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen.

“BP was ill-prepared for dealing with a deepwater spill and still cannot contain this gusher. People are outraged, and we are here to let BP know it,” he continued.


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