The US administration signalled that BP may lose its exploration and production leases as retribution for the catastrophic spill.
There are all sorts of things the US might want to do about the spill but tearing up the rule of law really isn\’t one of them.
Not issuing more leases….that would be fine. \”We don\’t want you\” would simply decrease the price of such leases to the detriment of the US taxpayer, but it would be fair enough. \”We\’re not going to let you drill on exploration leases already granted\” would be a little odd but still understandable: claim safety reasons or some such.
\”We\’re going to withdraw your production leases\” would be an absurd violation of contract law. And however much it would please the baying mob it would cost the US dearly in the long term. For the government tearing up the rule of law would, as the Russian example shows us, cost a fortune over time. It throws every contract in that country into doubt.
It would also be, as far as I can see, unconstitutional. It would be a \”taking\”, something for which the government would have to pay BP the full current value of those leases. And as I don\’t see the public being willing to pay such fees, then I can\’t see how the confiscation of such production licences could be legal.