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Nov 18, 2012 | Thom Hartmann, Sam Sacks
What does it take for a foreign corporation to get the corporate death penalty in America?
What does it take for a foreign corporation to get the corporate death penalty in America? That's a question we need to ask ourselves, after news broke yesterday of BP's legal settlement over its Gulf oil spill disaster in 2010.
Eleven workers were killed when their oil rig exploded, and for three months five million barrels of toxic crude gushed in the Gulf of Mexico as BP, which never made contingency plans for this sort of obvious crisis, tried to find a way to plug the hole. That oil killed marine life, blanketed coastlines, and put Gulf Coast small businesses out of business. To this day, we still don't know the long-term effects of this catastrophe on the ecosystem or our food chain, which is now contaminated with eyeless shrimp, clawless crabs, and other oil-mutated aquatic freak shows. Not to mention the human cancers that will show up in future decades.
Now, the foreign corporation responsible for all of this, BP, will just cut a small check, and then go back to business as usual, punching holes in the Gulf. It pled guilty to 14 felony and misdemeanor charges and agreed to pay a $4.5 billion fine – the largest criminal fine in our nation's history. But for a corporation that just announced it earned $5.4 billion in three months, BP knows it got off easy.
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