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Old Maritime Law Doesn’t Shield Transocean

By MARK LONG, June 14, 2010

An effort by Deepwater Horizon owner Transocean Ltd. to use a 159-year-old maritime law to limit its liability in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill doesn’t shield it against most lawsuits filed against it under the nation’s environmental laws, according to a court order signed Monday.

Judge Keith Ellison of the U.S. District Court in Houston signed the order clarifying that claims filed against Transocean under laws including the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and, with one exception, the Oil Pollution Act, can go forward outside of a continuing process by which Transocean is attempting to limit its liability to about $27 million.

Transocean has been named along with BP PLC in dozens of lawsuits seeking damages for the oil leak, which continues to gush a mile below the surface of the sea more than seven weeks after the accident that killed 11 men. Amid a political furor and several investigations, it is far from clear how much any of the participants in the doomed Macondo project will end up having to pay in damages and penalties.

More at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704324304575306892535710522.html?mod=WSJ_latestheadlines

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1 Comment»

  fred941 wrote @

Hope we can restore some sanity to the fossil fuel industry, so it can remain peacefully in our energy mix. But we need that accountability. Energy is an international affair.

And it turns out that the happy talk about natural gas has been hiding a rather intense extraction technique– getting the natural gas out of shale by using extremely high pressure water with a chemical cocktail. GASLAND the HBO documentary tracks the results.

Natural gas is not the charming easygoing solution, as Pickens’ drawl would have us believe. Shipping oil could still be more competitive, as long as we didn’t do the extreme drilling for the next few years.

We need careful technology now, and needed it yesterday. We need some careful accountability for the oil industry. Not burning and spewing away this precious resource because they skimped on safety technology.

Shipping oil safely can be done, it is just going to require more of that unlimited resource, engineering for the long, sustainable term.


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