By: Dr. Shelley Spiecker
Six months after the public was riveted to press coverage of the oil spill in the Gulf, impact on energy defendants has been less doomsday than feared. In fact, this is one of the better times in the past 10 years to be an energy defendant in front of a jury. Why? Much as the spill itself appeared to dissipate more rapidly than expected, the tide of public opinion has drifted away from concern over the environmental practices of energy companies, and toward concern over the economy. A recent Pew Research Center survey found the economy was identified as Americans’ top policy priority for 2011 by 87% of respondents. The public is also focused on resentment of what many perceive as a failure of government to fulfill the promises made in the 2008 election.