Let Us Begin The Witch-Hunt

The Justice Department is investigating whether any criminal or civil laws were violated in the BP Plc oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the biggest U.S. spill on record, said Attorney General Eric Holder.

“We will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law, anyone who has violated the law,” Holder said. “This disaster is nothing less than a tragedy.”

Holder announced the investigation today at a news conference in New Orleans, the same day President Barack Obama called the spill “the greatest environmental disaster of its kind in our history.” The president said, “My solemn pledge is that we will bring those responsible to justice.”

The spill began after an April 20 explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig, which London-based BP leased from Vernier, Switzerland-based Transocean Ltd. to drill its Macondo well in the Gulf. Houston-based Halliburton Co. provided oilfield services on the well.

A criminal probe likely will examine whether BP or other companies violated some of the same laws as Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp. in the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, said David M. Uhlmann, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor. He is former chief of the Justice Department’s environmental crimes section.
So, the question is, why wasn't this announced earlier? Surely, if someone suspected shenanigans, the government would have leapt into action sooner, given the high-profile nature of this story (not to mention the negative press that the President has been getting over the affair).

How long did it take to investigate and prosecute the Exxon Valdez oil spill? 19 years or so? Geez. My guess is that we shouldn't be holding our breath...