On legal liability for the BP oil spill

Moreover, to craft a moratorium that passes legal muster, the administration (Interior Department) would almost certainly have to argue that deepwater drilling is so inherently risky that it cannot be countenanced.  At most, the BP spill demonstrated the risks of drilling, risks that must exist independently of BP if all drilling is to be stopped: if the administration is correct that the irremediable and indefensible risks of drilling demand termination of the activity forthwith, those risks are inherent in the activity and would exist and have existed regardless of whether the BP well had exploded or not.  That is, if the administration’s argument justifying the moratorium is correct, it would be correct regardless of whether the BP spill had occurred or not.  How can you make BP pay for people not making money for not performing an activity they shouldn’t be performing in the first place?

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