“The British Petroleum oil spill has already cost lives and created a major environmental incident,” said Attorney General Holder, yesterday in a written statement to the press. “The Justice Department stands ready to make available every resource at our disposal to vigorously enforce the laws that protect the people who work and reside near the Gulf, the wildlife, the environment and the American taxpayers.”
The Attorney General’s top lieutenants in both the Civil Division and Environment and Natural Resources Division have been dispatched to the gulf coast to monitor federal agencies responding to the catastrophic oil spill that now assaults the gulf’s precious marine, coastal, and estuarine environments. In the prepared statement, the Attorney General’s office announced that:
“[a] coordinated response continues with a comprehensive oil well intervention and spill-response plan following the April 22, 2010 sinking of the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling rig 130 miles southeast of New Orleans. More than 1,000 personnel from federal, state and local agencies are involved in the response effort both on and offshore, with additional resources being mobilized as needed.”
Tony West, the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division will have to redirect his efforts from fighting healthcare fraud and turn his sights on the environmental torts, statutory violations, fraud, and false claims act violations that are sure to follow the disaster. (For an example of how disasters spawn fraud, read how one group of scammers used Hurricane Ike to bilk taxpayers for phantom power wheelchairs). The massive oil leak eclipses West’s accomplishments earlier in the week over which DoJ patted itself on the back for taking pharmaceutical companies — AstraZenica, Swartz, and Johnson & Johnson — to task for off-label marketing of prescription medications. Now, like the rest of the nation, West will have to redirect his efforts to cleaning up the mess created by BP and the other big oil interests who heretofore spent countless lobbying and advertising dollars trying to convince us that drilling for oil in the world’s most fragile and important areas was a good idea.