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criminal culpability, worker safety, British Petroleum, Massey Energy Company, Deepwater Horizon, Big Branch Mine


In April 2010, forty-seven people died violently as a result of explosions at an oil refinery, in a coal mine and on an offshore drilling rig. The BP Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, the Massey Mine coal mine disaster and the Tesoro Corporation oil refinery explosion raise questions about the corporate and individual criminal culpability of those responsible for these deaths. Too often cases involving worker deaths are not prosecuted at all or result in simply large fines against a corporate entity. This Article argues that the Department of Justice needs to more aggressively investigate and prosecute not only organizations but, more importantly, the individuals who make the decisions that lead to criminal conduct that leads to death or grievous bodily injury.

Publication Citation

48 American Criminal Law Review (2011).


Criminal Law | Environmental Law