Crime

Halliburton Pays Just $200,000 for Destroying Evidence from BP's Billion Dollar Oil Spill?

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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Halliburton Energy Services Inc. has agreed to plead guilty to charges of destroying evidence from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster off the coast of Louisiana.

While the disaster cost tens of billions to clean up, Halliburton faces a fine of just $200,000 from the U.S. Justice Department. Halliburton makes that much money in 23 seconds, according to the Huffington Post.

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and injuring 16 others. The rig, 20 miles off the coast of Louisiana in the Macondo Prospect oil field, was owned and operated by Transocean and the oil belong to BP. Halliburton was responsible for overseeing the cement pouring during the drilling of the well.

Halliburton officials twice destroyed computer simulations of the effects of using six instead of 21 centralizers when they built the rig, according to the Times-Picayune. Centralizers are metal collars in the casing of the well that keep it centered in the drill hole while cement is poured.

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For 86 days, oil poured into the Gulf of Mexico from the well. That’s somewhere between 3.26 million and 5.5 million barrels of oil.

"Prior to the blowout, defendant Halliburton had recommended to BP the use of 21 centralizers in the Macondo well. BP opted to use six centralizers instead,” says the criminal bill filed by government attorneys in the U.S. District Court of New Orleans.

In January 2011, President Barack Obama’s oil spill commission found that a series of cost-cutting decisions made by BP and its partners ultimately led to the explosion.

Cleanup continues on 84 miles of the Louisiana coast, although BP cleanup ended in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi this summer, BP spokesman Jason Ryan told the Association Press.

The full impact of the spill on wildlife and fisheries along the Gulf coast is difficult to gauge even two years later. Scientists are finding strange and unusual deformities in animals, and the number of dolphin and sea turtle deaths are sky high, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

David White, the director of the National Wildlife Federation's Gulf of Mexico Restoration Campaign, told the AP in June that there is must left to do.

"As much as one million barrels of oil from the disaster remains unaccounted for, and tar mats and tar balls from the spill continue to wash up on the coast," said David White. "Regardless of how our shorelines are monitored, BP must be held accountable for the cleanup. We cannot just accept oiled material on our beaches and in our marshes as the 'new normal.'"

Sources: NOLA.com, RT.com, Huffington Post