Nearly two years after the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, the liability trial for the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico was set to begin Monday--but will now be delayed a week to allow time for settlement talks. Since the catastrophe is more often than not called the BP oil spill, things might not look so great for one of the defendants, BP, though it does have millions of dollars to spend on a battalion of lawyers. Rig owner Transocean and construction contractor Halliburton are also among those sued by fishermen, business owners, and Gulf Coast residents. BP chief executive Bob Dudley said the company is ready and able to fight a lengthy court battle. BP has set aside $37 billion for fines and other associated costs of the disaster. The first phase of the trial will focus on who’s responsible, the second will address the efforts to contain the spill, and the third part will be about the cleanup effort. BP could end up playing about $17 billion in civil penalties alone.
BLAME Mark Ralston, AFP / Getty Images