The Eco-sphere vs. BP
Why BP’s Oil Spill is a Case for Right of Eminent Domain by US Government
By: Jabrim Raven Allen
Does BP’s $2 billion fund truly amount to a “shake down” of its financial assets by the President as stated by GOP Rep. Joe Barton, or just a slap on the wrist? Isn’t it BP that should be apologizing to both Great Britain and the United States; while offering to make amends for lives lost during the initial disaster and creating the greatest man-made disaster in both US and British histories? Politically, if the US were to exercise its right of “Eminent Domain” it would lose socio-political and economic confluence with Britain; thus further endangering its relationship with Britain which could affect its military campaign in Afghanistan; yet if Britain were to acknowledge the US’s right of “Eminent Domain” over BP, it could result in a loss of international prestige for Britain and endanger her own economic recovery due to the rest of her oil companies reputations being tainted by BP’s screw-up. In order to move away from the political implications of Gulf Coast Disaster, it would be better to look at it in terms of one corporation vs. another.
“Because of the Due Process Clause, a state government can't take the property of a corporation without using due process of law and providing just compensation for its lost. See article written by NYT (New York Times) for greater details. However, this would not apply to British Petroleum who has a $140 billion market cap and $30 billion in annual cash flow during normal times.”
The yearly output of the entire biosphere, which consists of 16 biomes, has an annual cash flow of $33 trillion per year. In separating our Gulf Coasts biome’s annual cash flow from the annual cash flow of Earth’s collective biosphere; reducing it to 1/16 of the annual cash flow for the entire biosphere, it can be concluded that BP based upon its annual cash flow would not possess enough funds to repay the Gulf Coast for damages, or lost revenue caused by BP due to Bp’s oil spill which interrupted those daily business functions that resulted in its inability to provide safe, useable goods/services to its consumers. The Gulf Coast’s loss of revenue would be estimated to be 1/64 of $33 trillion per year -- $50 billion dollars for 1 business quarter.
Since BP’s quarterly cash flow is $7.5 billion; $42.5 billion less than what it owes the Gulf Coast biome for damages and loss of revenue, Those states affected by BP’s oil spill would not have to provide BP with “just compensation” as part of the “Due Process Clause” since BP’s lack of funding would cause it to be indebted to Gulf Coast biome for 6 times its actual worth.
In a legal battle, BP could be held responsible for paying the Gulf Coast biome’s its estimated loss in revenue since BP’s oil spill resulted in its loss of revenue and physical damages; thus, those states within US territory directly affected by BP’s oil spill as acting managing conservators for the Gulf Coast biome would be able to sue BP for damages and loss of revenue even if those damages can only be paid through surrendering BP’s assets to the Gulf Coast biome’s consumers who are also its managing conservators – the citizens of the united states. It is this situation that sets the socio-economic, political and moral frame work for our government to exercise “Right of Eminent Domain” over BP. However, who has the right of “Eminent Domain” and how does this affect the ruling by US District Court Judge Martin Feldman. 1) only the legislative branch of government has the ability to exercise right of “Eminent Domain”; 2) only the Supreme Court can make binding legal decisions, this would mean that by turning to the legislative branch of government the Obama administration would be able to over-turn Judge Feldman’s decision in a court of law and bring about a binding legal decision concerning the BP oil spill which would directly affect the Gulf Coast for generations if both were forced to make their appeal to the Supreme Court. Many believe that Judge Feldman based his decision upon his personal financial interests.
According to Mother Jones (ed. Artl 2010) Feldman has in recent years possessed monetary interests not only in Transocean—the world's largest offshore drilling company that’s responsible for the Deepwater Horizon rig, but also other energy companies engaged in offshore oil extraction. It is believed that in 2008 Feldman invested $15,000 in Transocean and has recently purchased stock in Haliburton, Prospect Energy, Hercules Offshore, Parker Drilling Co., and ATP Oil & Gas. Feldman was appointed as District Court Judge in 1983 by former President Regan. In 2008 according to Think Progress (ed. Artl., 2010) Feldman purchased Black Rock ($12000- $36000), Ocean Energy ($1000 – $2500), NGP Capital Resources ($1000 – $2500), Quicksilver, Resources ($5000 – $15000), Hercules Offshore ($6000 – $17500); thus between $57,500 - $88,500 in stocks. Unless there are Cayman accounts involved which Judge Feldman has not confessed too; this amount is hardly worth risking his career over. The only way that Judge Feldman could benefit from this decision is politically in terms of gaining political favors or future campaign donations which would be possible due to the entrenched oil dependent mentality of the Gulf Coast. According to Chron.Com (ed. Artl.,June 2010) “Gulf Coast state law makers and its oil & gas industry have urged the Interior Department to lift its deep-water ban, claiming that it’s unnecessarily destroying tens of thousands of jobs when the Gulf Coast is already struggling with unemployment in its fishing industry, and other spill-related losses.”
However, what is not being examined is the number of vacant jobs caused by the spill which need to be filled in order to contain it. According to Jobs.Aol.Com (ed, artl.,May 2010) 11,000 jobs have already been created due to clean up efforts. Perhaps what is not being considered is that the jobs which may be replaced are those that dealt with obtaining oil as opposed to protecting environment – in short, jobs based upon short term goals, fast cash for investors and speculators, and belief in the principles of capitalism may be replaced with jobs that are based upon long term goals, responsible management of resources and environment over profit. It is this change of socio-economic dynamics within the Gulf Coast states that may be the reason for Judge Feldman’s decision in overturning the ban on off-shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and the very reason why the US government may be forced to exercise its right of “Eminent Domain”.