Brief: Trial to decide consequences for gulf spill

Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – The owner of the drilling rig that exploded at the outset of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill catastrophe started its defense Monday at a trial designed to determine the disaster’s causes and assign fault to the companies involved.

The judge is hearing the case without a jury and – barring a settlement – could decide how much more money BP and its contractors owe for their roles in the catastrophe. BP could be on the hook for nearly $18 billion in penalties under the Clean Water Act if the judge finds that it acted with “gross negligence.”