Assassinating ANWR, and the Rule of Law
|June 17, 2010, 4:52 pm|
Originally posted by Craig Silverman - Huffington Post - June 17, 2010
For non-scientists, this massive oil spill contains lots of intellectual complications. Apparently, scientists are not doing a whole lot better. Neither are engineers. Nor are lawyers.
A caller to our Caplis and Silverman radio show ripped all attorneys on our Wednesday show. He asked us to think about all the lawyers involved on the government side of this Gulf problem. The Obamas; Barack and Michelle. Holder. Salazar. Napolitano. Dan Caplis and I are both lawyers.
Right after that call came several enlightening segments with guest attorney Brent Coon, who has successfully sued BP before. Headquartered in Beaumont, Texas, and with lots of other Gulf offices, Coon's big trial law firm will soon go after British Petroleum again.
Who in our society is supposed to hold big corporations and insurance companies accountable? Trial lawyers do it every day with the aid of citizens -- citizen clients and citizen juries. Now, the government is taking over the jobs of trial lawyers and the insurance companies.
Where is the Rule of Law? Even though we are both veteran lawyers, Brent Coon and I could not figure out the how, why, where and when the President obtained the power to broker and now take over the 20 billion dollar BP deal. Is it a White House extralegal shakedown? As with AIG, the government becomes the corporate insurance company.
Who gets compensated? How much? Pain and suffering? Property value loss? Who decides? The White House? Does any kind of waiver need to be signed? What happens if the government does something blatantly wrong in the claims process? Can the government be sued or do they have their usual governmental immunity?
And why is the White House now shutting exploratory deep sea wells in the Gulf? How are people supposed to make a living or drive to work? What did the competitors of BP do wrong?
Didn't you say, Mr. President, that BP was reckless? In my law school, I learned that reckless is "a conscious disregard of a substantial risk." If someone is driving 95 mph on the highway and weaving in and out of traffic, and hits a bus and kills a dozen, and then hits a gas tanker which spills, that conduct is reckless and the driver is fully liable for the damages he caused.
We don't tell everybody else to stop driving. Why does everybody else have to stop drilling? Are all oil companies reckless? Is it because we now know there is no way to stop it if and when a deepwater well spills?
Is it Interior's Minerals Management Service the White House does not trust? Yeah, me neither. Cabinet Secretary Ken Salazar said he was a new sheriff in town at Interior when he learned about the Bush-Cheney era MMS crony capitalism/cocaine/porn practices. Salazar said he said it was going to stop the MMS problems. He did not. Even www.moveon.org sees even more crony capitalism under Sheriff Salazar and breaks it down. Is it the government the White House does not trust in the Gulf?
ANWR anybody? Are caribou more valuable than pelicans, dolphins and turtles? And people? Or have we come to realize that oil is bad on every level? This White House wants to stop ANWR in Alaska and Anwar al-Awlaki in the Arabian peninsula. Meanwhile, the government needs to stop the hemorrhaging in this latest Gulf war.