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Brian Heslin Quoted in SC Lawyers Weekly

June 9, 2010

South Carolina Lawyers Weekly recently called on Moore & Van Allen Litigation attorney Brian Heslin, an expert in the regulation of energy companies as well as white-collar criminal defense, to comment on potential legal action by the Palmetto State against BP.

According to the article written by Fred Horlbeck, because some forecasts predict that the BP oil spill could reach the Atlantic coastline as early as July, there is some speculation that states such as South Carolina will bring legal action against BP. The Justice Department has opened its own criminal and civil investigations into the spill, which, according to Mr. Heslin, may include allegations of violations of environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Oil Pollution Act as well as Title 18 laws.

Mr. Heslin, who represents companies and public utilities in regulated energy industries, said one concern is that there is a lack of jurisdiction unless the oil brings about a similar degree of damage to the coastlines of Louisiana. Even though the oil spill may travel up to the Carolina coast, because the initial spill first occurred in a different area, the Atlantic areas are likely to have trouble establishing jurisdiction, especially compared to the states directly on the Gulf Coast. Another potential legal hurdle is that the federal investigation of BP’s handling of the Gulf spill will likely take precedence over any legal action brought about by the states. As such, states who might take action may have a better chance if they “piggyback” on the federal investigation.

The entire article can be read in the June 8, 2010 issue of South Carolina Lawyers Weekly.