Is the BP disaster an act of God?
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That was a weird comment for the governor to make. He can’t possibly substantiate his statement. Is he so anti-litigation that he is trying to protect the perpetrators? In any event, Black’s Law Dictionary defines an act of God as “An act occasioned exclusively by violence of nature without the interference of any human agency.” It is hard to imagine how the explosion and resulting oil spill could qualify as an act of God. The drilling and operation of a well is most definitely the result of human agency. What kind of act of God could have caused the explosion? An undersea volcano? An as-yet undetected earthquake? No one has suggested that there is any cause for the oil spill rather than the obvious one — human negligence. Perry’s concern appears to be that the spill will provide an opportunity for environmental groups to demand that the Obama administration reverse its decision to allow offshore drilling, or to impose a ban on all offshore drilling. It goes without saying that any such decision would have a major impact on the state’s fiscal situation. I looked on BP’s website for its response. The company pledges to pay compensation for “legitimate and objectively verifiable” claims for property damage, personal injury and commercial losses. This sounds like damage control to me. Who decides what is a “legitimate” and “objectively verifiable” claim? The responsibility is going to take years to sort out. The final settlement of the Exxon Valdez case did not occur until 2008, some 19 years after the oil spill. Meanwhile, BP is taking the position that it is not responsible for the accident. It says that the equipment that failed and led to the spill belonged to Transocean Ltd. BP operated the rig. President Barack Obama and several attorneys general have asked the company to explain what exactly that means, according to the AP. Meanwhile, Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” BP CEO Tony Hayward said that BP was not responsible for the accident. He said the equipment that failed and led to the spill belonged to owner Transocean Ltd., not BP, which operated the Deepwater Horizon rig. A Transocean spokesman responded with a statement: “We will await all the facts before drawing conclusions and we will not speculate,” he said. [CSNews]