photo essay 100506-N-6436W-023.jpg

Four years after the Deep Horizon Oil Spill, with all the big fish long free, one man was set to actually pay for his role in poisoning the gulf then destroying the evidence of it. Anthony Badalamenti was the cementing technology director for Halliburton on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. Badalamenti was charged by prosecutors for telling two Halliburton employees to destroy data that was to be used in a post-spill review. Presumably the data would have shown that Badalamenti had not performed quality work.

So what was Badalamenti’s punishment? 100 hours of community service and a $1000 fine. Not only will Badalamenti get probation but the judge lavished praise on him, vouching for his character.

The judge said that the sentence of probation is “very reasonable in this case.” “I still feel that you’re a very honorable man,” he told Badalamenti. “I have no doubt that you’ve learned from this mistake.”

All he did was help wreck an ecosystem then destroy evidence to cover it up. Then again, it’s not like any other Halliburton executives had to face the music. The politically connected company simply paid a $200,000 fine to the Justice Department and went on it’s way.

BP meanwhile has paid its fines and rehabilitated its image thanks to Purple Strategies, a bi-partisan DC lobbying firm that help produced the feel good Gulf Spill ads playing on an endless loop through the television ecosystem. BP’s initial ad buy was $50 million, good times in DC.

So what have learned?

Destroying the environment and local economies is completely acceptable if you are rich enough to pay for fines and huge PR campaigns. God bless America.

Photo by US Navy under public domain.