Nonprofit Newswire | Feds Launch Criminal Investigation of Gulf Coast Oil Disaster

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June 1, 2010; The Hill | What does the criminal investigation of BP mean in the context of a Nonprofit Newswire? To us, it means that the U.S. government is finally getting serious about prosecuting some really bad stuff, putting the emphasis where it should be. BP’s behavior on and since the April 20th explosion of the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil platform is hard to fathom and impossible to tolerate as a society. Initially, BP said the spill was “only” 1,000 barrels a day, then 5,000, then 12,000, then maybe an outer limit of 25,000, and now 25,000 barrels a day may hardly be “outer”. The destruction of the Gulf Coast habitat, the destruction of entire industries, the deaths of 11 workers on the oil rig, all add up to a societal calamity. The government is finally pursuing BP, albeit with a tinge of “we’re not Bush after Katrina” image-building, but the nonprofit sector has hardly been full-throated about BP and the corporate sector in general. Politicians and nonprofits alike ought to consider turning back their BP largesse and telling BP to stop low-balling the numbers, pay its fines, clean up the disaster it has unleashed on this nation, and, if necessary, like Arthur Anderson after Enron, do the right thing and hand over operations to a more capable—and honest—corporate player.— Rick Cohen