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IN THE RING: Under what circumstances would you support criminal charges for some BP executives?

Art Bobrowitz, Compass Rose Consulting:
“Should BP executives be held accountable? Yes. In this case the criminal and civil probe will have deep implications. The media is reporting that several months earlier this same oil rig was given a safety award. How did that happen? That thought is troubling.

“The related question that needs to be asked is how much money the federal government will make off this one incident? I also read where Senate Democrats are planning to tax oil companies and create an oil spill liability fund. They want to raise $15 billion over the coming decade in case we have another catastrophic spill in the Gulf.

“The bottom line is three steps need to be taken. First if you can prove negligence, file charges for the negligent operation of the platform. Second, file charges against the industry lobbyists for the wasteful campaign contribution that did nothing to help stop this scenario from happening in the first place.  And third, every time you pull into a gas station and take out your wallet you can thank your congressman for showing you 15 billion different ways you too can be outraged.”

Warren Franklin, KYKN radio personality:
“This is a complicated matter.  Is BP guilty of criminal activities related to the oil leak?  I’m sure there will be an investigation.  What is most important in my mind is getting this mess cleaned up.  Then we can assess blame.   And, while we are assessing blame lets look at those who force corporations like BP to drill so far out in the ocean a mile or more down.  Let’s examine whether BP had an emergency plan to fix a problem like this.  Lets look at our government and assess what kind of emergency plan it had in place.  There are many to point fingers at if that is what you want to do.  I would argue that drilling so far out in the ocean is far more dangerous than drilling off shore or on land.  We have to rethink how we look at drilling for oil in the future.”

Phil Bay, retired insurance agent and former city councilor:
“What good would it do?  Would it change the picture after the fact?  Of course not.  Much more history than you and I have as to negligent management of oil platforms will be needed if any charges are leveled against BP.  Mostly, all of want it fixed and that must be now not in six or eight months.  The big question is will they pony up the resources and the money to clean it up, which will be in the billions, I am certain.”

Vic Backlund, former GOP state representative and retired educator:
“Criminal charges should be brought against BP executives ONLY if there is strong evidence that they committed criminal acts.  They may have made some terrible misjudgments, but that doesn’t in itself qualify them to be charged with crimes.”

JoAnne Beilke, Chemeketa Community College board member and real estate agent:
“No.  Not unless they are not working to stop the problem.  Part of the problem was the US agency that allowed these off shore drilling Companies drill without a plan in place. The US should have had a plan in place for accidents.  Remember Alaska? Seems we never learn.  Some things need regulation, Financial instiutions, anything that can damage the enviroment that is on a large scale.  Companies should be held accountable but no courts until all other types of mediations can occur.  All monies that would be spent on Court should be given to clean up.  Not unless we seize their assets.”

Roy Duncan, retired analyst, state of Oregon:
“I am sorry but this may anger some but such is life.  I would only consider possible criminal charges for BP personnel if the investigations include the possibility of malfeasance charges against civil servants and elected officials.  Story after story makes it abundantly clear many of them are not doing their jobs.  Just last night Fox News Channel had a story about 3 cases of seemingly out-of-the-box thinking that outsiders are begging the federal government to consider, but they can’t even get a hearing, which would dramatically enhance clean up and containment possibilities.  Instead we learn of them watching porn on government computers, obfuscating facts to get reelected or to try and gain some other political advantage.

“Such drilling should never have proceeded without emergency shutoff as part of the ORIGINAL plan for each and every well, i.e., step one make hole, step 2, make sure we can stop the gushing when we want.  Instead we hear of massive contributions to election campaigns for both parties and exceptions being granted to existing rules.”

Jacque Moir, retired city councilor:
“Only if if the spill was intentional by the BP executives or they ignored information that they were given that this was going to happen should criminal charges be considered.  Accidents unfortunately do happen and sometimes have dire consequences.  Should there be better policies in place, absolutely!  NO one is coming out of this dire situation without a black eye including our President.  The bigger question is when is the site too deep to drill in?  Obviously the technology is not there at this time to handle drilling at these depths so lets learn from this horrible disaster that it is not acceptable to be drilling this far out/down today.”