The Brazilian justice system has decided to stop 17 Chevron and Transocean oil executives from exiting the country while it determines whether to file criminal charges for an oil spill that occurred in November 2011. The chief operating officer of Chevron’s Brazilian office is one of those being held.
There has been little to no evidence presented to the public regarding the criminal culpability of the oil executives. Brazil, however, does have environmental laws on the books that would allow such prosecution.
This does raise a question for the Obama administration, which has offered incentives to allow Brazil to drill offshore. Will the administration stand idly by while executives are jailed in Brazil? Will we continue to provide resources to the Brazilian government for offshore drilling, knowing that the companies we force to do business in Brazil by prohibiting offshore drilling in the U.S. may be imprisoned?