02/03/2015 - US News: BP Will Call Its First Expert Witness As It Seeks To Reduce Penalty For Gulf Spill


BP will call its first expert witnesses on January 26th as it seeks a lower penalty than the $13.7 billion that the federal government wants for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The company's expert witnesses will testify with regards the effectiveness of efforts by BP to minimize the impact of the spill.

The Justice Department called its final witness Friday for the penalty phase of the civil trial over the ecological disaster. The penalty phase started January 20th. During this phase, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier will decide how much BP owes in Clean Water Act fines for the spill.

BP is fighting for a much lower fine than the maximum $4,300-per-barrel penalty, that the government wants BP to pay. The oil giant seeks a fine closer to the $3.19 billion statutory minimum. Anadarko argues it should not be fined because it had no role in the cause of the spill. If the Government's case is successful BP would pay about $13.7 billion . Anadarko

Petroleum Corp., a partner in the failed Macondo well, also faces a potential penalty.
President of a New Orleans-based oil spill response cooperative, Clean Gulf Associates U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Frank Paskewich, will be the first witness BP will call to the stand to discuss the company's response to the spill.

Paskewich will testify on BP's efforts to cleanup the oil and analyze the effectiveness of this work.

BP claims that its response efforts, including $14 billion spent on cleanup efforts, were key in minimizing the damage from the spill.

The oil giant says it should face a lower Clean Water Act fine after leading the significant cleanup effort. But the government argues BP was required by law to participate in the spill response and was part of a broader coalition of entities, including the U.S. Coast Guard, that led the effort.

In addition to Paskewich, BP attorneys says say they plan to call on two to three additional witnesses on Monday.

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