07-14-2020  12:06 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Justice Department to Investigate Portland Protest Shooting

Donavan LaBella was standing with both arms in the air holding a large speaker across the street from the courthouse when a federal officer fired a less-lethal round at his head

Seattle Mayor, City Council at Odds Over 50% Police Cut

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan says the City Council has failed to speak with the police chief or conduct sufficient research

OSU, UO Among 20 Universities Filing Federal Lawsuit in Oregon Over International Student Order

The lawsuit, filed today, seeks to protect the educational status of nearly 3,500 students attending OSU

Governor Kate Brown Announces New Requirements for Face Coverings, Limits on Social Get-Togethers

Effective Wednesday, July 15, face coverings to be required outdoors, social get-togethers indoors over 10 prohibited

NEWS BRIEFS

NNPA Livestreams With Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Val Demings

The audience has an opportunity to be an interactive part of the interview ...

Black Women Often Ignored By Social Justice Movements

‘Intersectional invisibility’ may lead to Black women’s exclusion, study finds ...

Deadline is July 15 to Pay Portland's $35 Arts Tax

The tax, approved by voters in 2012, supports arts education and grants ...

Oregon National Guard Completes Wildland Firefighter Training

The training was conducted using funds that were allocated to the Department of Defense by Congress to enable the National Guard to...

OSU Science Pub Focuses on Influence of Black Lives Matter

The influence of the Black Lives Matter movement will be the focus of a virtual Oregon State University Science Pub on July 13 ...

Wedge wolf pack attacks 7 cattle in northeast Washington

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Wedge wolf pack in northeast Washington has attacked seven more cattle, bringing the number of depredations by the pack to nearly a dozen since May 11.The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife investigated and confirmed the depredations on Saturday at a private...

Seattle mayor, City Council at odds over 50% police cut

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan on Monday blasted the City Council's plan to cut the police department's budget by 50% and instead proposed transferring a list of functions like the 911 call center and parking enforcement out of the agency's budget.“We need to invest in...

Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner hurt in jet ski accident

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner sustained serious injuries when he and a passenger on a jet ski collided with a boat on the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.According to a police report, Koerner and Cole Coffin were hurt at about 6:30 p.m. Friday when their watercraft...

Missouri football program pushes again for racial justice

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Ryan Walters had just arrived at the University of Missouri to coach safeties for the football program when a series of protests related to racial injustice led to the resignations of the system president and the chancellor of its flagship campus.The student-led movement...

OPINION

COMMENTARY: Real Table Talk

Chaplain Debbie Walker provides helpful insight for self-preservation, and care tips for your family, your neighbors, and your community circles ...

Commissioner Hardesty Responds To Federal Troop Actions Towards Protesters

This protester is still fighting for their life and I want to be clear: this should never have happened. ...

Recent Protests Show Need For More Government Collective Bargaining Transparency

Since taxpayers are ultimately responsible for funding government union contract agreements, they should be allowed to monitor the negotiation process ...

The Language of Vote Suppression

A specific kind of narrative framing is used to justify voter suppression methods and to cover up the racism that motivates their use. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Confederate statue removed from prominent spot at Ole Miss

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Confederate monument that’s long been a divisive symbol at the University of Mississippi was removed Tuesday from a prominent spot on the Oxford campus, just two weeks after Mississippi surrendered the last state flag in the U.S. with the Confederate battle...

Video shows man vandalizing NYC 'Black Lives Matter' mural

NEW YORK (AP) — Surveillance photos and video of a man who was seen splashing red paint on the “Black Lives Matter” street mural in front of Trump Tower was released Tuesday by New York City police.The video shows a man in black shorts and a dark blue T-shirt pouring red paint...

Philadelphia protesters sue city over tear gas, use of force

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Three class-action lawsuits filed in Philadelphia on Tuesday accuse the city of using military-level force that injured protesters and bystanders alike during peaceful protests against racial inequality and police brutality. One lawsuit accuses Philadelphia police of...

ENTERTAINMENT

Tom Bergeron, Erin Andrews exit 'Dancing With the Stars'

NEW YORK (AP) — The dance has ended for “Dancing With the Stars” hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews.ABC said in a statement that the show is looking to “embark on a new creative direction” and host Bergeron “departs the show with our sincerest thanks and...

Back to the '80s: Andrew McCarthy writing 'Brat Pack' book

NEW YORK (AP) — Actor-writer-director Andrew McCarthy, a 57-year-old father of three, keeps getting asked about his “Brat Pack” years in the 1980s. He is now ready to answer. Grand Central Publishing announced Tuesday that McCarthy's “Brat: An '80s Story” will...

Music Review: How The Chicks sort of got their groove back

The Chicks, “Gaslighter” (Columbia Records)The newly minted The Chicks pull a phoenix-like move with eighth studio album “Gaslighter.”The Dixie Chicks have died, long live The Chicks. In a stunning act of double re-invention, the country-pop trio have changed their name...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Burger King addresses climate change by changing cows' diets

Burger King is staging an intervention with its cows. The chain has rebalanced the diet of some of the cows by...

Biden unveils [scripts/homepage/home.php] trillion climate plan with energy revamp

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Joe Biden released a [scripts/homepage/home.php] trillion plan Tuesday aimed at combating climate change and...

Wait 'til next year: Giving up on 2020, looking toward 2021

NEW YORK (AP) — This was supposed to be the year of the comeback for Boysie Dikobe, a South African dancer...

Prada headlines Milan's first Digital Fashion Week

MILAN (AP) — Prada headlined Day 1 of Milan’s first Digital Fashion Week on Tuesday with a series of...

Russia seeks prison terms for 3 youth group members

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian authorities on Tuesday demanded prison terms for three members of a youth group...

Wait 'til next year: Giving up on 2020, looking toward 2021

NEW YORK (AP) — This was supposed to be the year of the comeback for Boysie Dikobe, a South African dancer...

McMenamins
Ed Lavandera and Jason Morris CNN

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- A titanic courtroom showdown with billions of dollars in the balance opened in New Orleans on Monday, with oil giant BP arguing it shouldn't face the government's steepest penalties for the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

BP already pleaded guilty to criminal charges and agreed to a record-setting $4 billion fine for the spill. But it could face more than $20 billion in additional environmental penalties if found to have committed gross negligence in the disaster.

In a packed federal courtroom Monday afternoon, BP attorney Mike Brock said blame for the disaster wasn't the oil company's alone. A string of bad decisions by Transocean, the company that owned the doomed drill rig Deepwater Horizon; well cement contractor Halliburton; and BP all led to the blowout, he said.

"We do not believe that men and women of BP behaved in willful misconduct," Brock said. "It was a multiparty event."

But Halliburton attorney Don Godwin said BP ignored the contractor's recommendations about the cement job and that Transocean didn't move fast enough to contain the blowout.

Transocean settled with the government last week for $1 billion in Clean Water Act penalties but could face additional additional liability in the case that started Monday. Transocean lawyer Brad Brian said that last week's settlement was not an admission of gross negligence and that last-minute changes to the well design by BP had the rig's crew "at wits' end" before the disaster.

All three companies have been pointing fingers at each other since the April 20, 2010, blowout that sank the Deepwater Horizon, killed 11 men aboard and uncapped an undersea gusher that spewed for nearly three months. The spill's effects on the environment are still being cataloged.

The plaintiffs in the civil case that opened Monday include five Gulf states, individuals, businesses and the federal government.

"Evidence will show BP placed huge financial pressure to cut costs, cut corners, and rush the job," attorney James P. Roy, who represents the coalition of plaintiffs, said during opening arguments on Monday.

And Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said the oil giant "was blinded by their bottom line."

"The spill was tragically inevitable due to BP's corporate culture," Strange said. "The evidence will show that, at BP, money mattered most."

If it is found to have been "grossly negligent" under the Clean Water Act, it could be fined as much as $4,300 per barrel of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. If it's found "negligent," the company could be fined about $1,100 per barrel.

Attorneys will also likely square off over how much oil gushed into the gulf, another key figure that will be used to calculate how much money BP might owe. Officials have said 4.9 million barrels -- about 205 million gallons -- of oil spilled, while BP says that number is overblown and that authorities should use a maximum figure of 3.1 million barrels of oil when calculating the fine.

The trial will also determine what fines the company faces under National Resource Damage Assessment, which aims to restore environmental damage caused by the spill. Environmental groups want to see those fines -- which will put a specific price tag on damage to plants and wildlife -- total around $25 billion.

With so much money at stake, each side has brought an army of lawyers to the fight. With almost 60 lawyers filling the courtroom, the judge created a seating chart for all the attorneys. Lawyers representing the federal government and other plaintiffs sat on one side, while the BP lawyers and other companies' lawyers sat across the room.

Three overflow courtrooms were also packed on Monday.

BP says it has already paid billions in spill-related cleanup and compensation costs and has been barred from new federal contracts. Though Halliburton and Transocean could also face penalties, much of the criticism from environmentalists before the high-profile trial has focused on BP, the undersea well's owner.

"The damage done here is real, both to the environment and to the people," said Brian Moore, of the National Audubon Society. "And BP should not have the chance to get off cheaply on this."

In his statement before the trial began, BP General Counsel Rupert Bondy said the company would push for the court to consider lower penalties, arguing that BP made efforts to do the right thing and "immediately stepped up" and acknowledged its role in the spill.

"To date we've spent more than $23 billion in response, cleanup, and payments on claims by individuals, businesses and governments," he said. "No company has done more, faster, to meet its commitment to economic and environmental restoration efforts in the wake of an industrial accident."

CNN's Vivian Kuo and Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.

 

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