Associate Professor Jane Barrett, director of the School of Law's Environmental Law Clinic, was quoted Monday, Nov. 8, in a national broadcast of NPR on the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.
In prior interviews Barrett has advocated a hard line, including seeking prison time, in prosecuting senior managers who run companies that are responsible for environmental disasters. This summer's catastrophe killed 11 men working on the oil rig and released hundreds of millions of gallons of oil into the environmentally sensitive waters of the Gulf of Mexico just before tourist season.
"In the last 10 years, what we've seen is a tendency just to go with the corporate plea," Barrett told NPR. "And in particular, the individuals that get charged are those who are affiliated with, not with your Fortune 200 companies, but smaller companies."
Barrett was quoted this summer in The Financial Times and Barron's, and published an op-ed in The Baltimore Sun on the legal fallout of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. She urged the government lawyers pursue the heaviest penalties possible against the responsible companies and their executives. The NPR story repeated that hard-line stance.
Barrett joined the School of Law faculty in 2007 after working for law firms in Washington representing corporate clients, but before that prosecuted environmental cases for federal and state agencies. Her tenacious pursuit of polluters and white-collar criminals earned her the nickname "The Barracuda."
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UM News Bureau