In short, the $12 billion word is “gross,” as in gross negligence. A judgment of gross negligence could multiply Clean Water Act penalties five-fold upon for the defendants, which would mean billions more for coastal restoration. BP denies gross negligence and has attempted to deflect blame to its co-defendants. All told, BP faces about $21 billion in fines. For context, back in 2011 I noted the prevailing pessimism about the prospect of BP having to pay civil penalties over $10 billion.

Contrary to popular belief, oil from the BP Macondo spill is still bombarding the coastal regions of the Gulf of Mexico from Louisiana through Alabama and even into the panhandle of Florida. Port Fourchon and the Wisner property is on the frontline of this assault.

In this case, though, Apache detected the flow, activated the blowout preventer and evacuated workers from the rig. It reported the incident to federal regulators and brought in Boots & Coots, the well control company, to kill the well. No lives were lost, no injuries were sustained, no environmental damage was detected.

That argument is laughable in light of the fact that Gusman maintains ancillary operations that include motorcycle, mounted, K-9, search and rescue, and security/patrol units. He spends more on fuel than the Fire Department, EMS, the district attorney’s office and the coroner’s office combined. He’s also in the process of building an $81.5 million kitchen and office facility that can serve more than 25,000 meals a day — enough for more than 8,300 prisoners, or nearly four times the jail’s current population. Given those expenditures, it seems clear that OPP’s biggest problem is one of management, not funding.

Louisiana stands to lose hundreds of teaching jobs, while thousands of Defense Department employees in the state are furloughed, and oil-and-gas permitting in the Gulf of Mexico is delayed, according to a White House report released Sunday evening.

Additionally, the sequestration measures may close five airport towers, including two in Lake Charles and the New Orleans Lakefront Airport. U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-La.), called the announcement a political scare tactic by President Barack Obama’s administration. “I believe the sequestration is going to take place, and my position at this point is we should let it take place,” Alexander said.

Mark Moseley

Mark Moseley blogs at Your Right Hand Thief. Until mid 2014, Mark Moseley was The Lens' opinion writer, engagement specialist and coordinator for the Charter Schools Reporting Corps. After Katrina and...