BP guilty of environmental crime

BP has been found guilty in what's believed to be South Africa's first-ever successful private prosecution for environmental crime. The oil giant could face millions of rand in fines for building 17 filling stations in Gauteng without environmental approval. Courtesy #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - BP has been found guilty in what's believed to be South Africa's first-ever successful private prosecution for environmental crime.

The oil giant could face millions of rand in fines for building 17 filling stations in Gauteng without environmental approval.

Following a North Gauteng High Court ruling, oil giant BP is now an environmental criminal in South Africa.

Those who indicted BP say its failure to do environmental checks before building the filling stations could lead to ground pollution or an accident.

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“What the law requires is that those impacts must be identified, assessed, reported on to the competent authority before you can commence.

"They will look at your report, give you and authorisation or deny authorisation. In these incidences BP simply went ahead and built the filling stations with no prior assessment at all,” said Gideon Erasmus of the Uzani Environment Advocacy.

But the oil giant disagrees with the judgment.

In a statement, it says it's considering its options.

“In the register of offenders that we are playing from provinces, there are a whole range of offenders. From mining companies to manufacturing companies, to agricultural companies, to telecommunications companies. And this is but the first prosecution in a process that will look at the offences that all of them committed, and then prioritise and prosecute,” Erasmus said.

BP could be liable for R100,000 in fines for each of the 17 counts, plus up to three times the commercial value of the filling stations.

Source
eNCA