Everyday we awaken to more disheartening news about the BP oil spill. BP executives attempt to appear sympathetic about this disaster, saying that they will "make it right". A common theme is emerging: initially, BP executives describe things in the most positive light, stating "minimal effect on the environment" and later: "Now that the cap is in place, a trickle of oil remains"".
Then external observers, including scientists and engineers, provide a very different assessment. The initial flow rate was far more than that initially described by BP, and the amount of oil "trickling" from the cap is hardly a trickle more akin to periodic geysers.
Blame is being assigned broadly, to BP itself to federal regulators to President Obama. The "$75 million liability limit" has been given much attention; now it is recognized that liability and damages will likely be in the billion dollar range.
BP's CEO has indicated that they will pay investors well over $10 billion this year in dividends for shares in the company, so a $1 billion penalty would be a relative "slap on the wrist" in response to this environmental disaster.