Excerpts from the Miami Herald:
Facing some 100 lawsuits after its Gulf of Mexico oil spill killed 11 workers and threatened four coastal states, oil giant BP is asking the courts to place every pre-trial issue in the hands of a single federal judge in Houston.
That judge, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes, has traveled the world giving lectures on ethics for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, a professional association and research group that works with BP and other oil companies. The organization pays his travel expenses.
Hughes has also collected royalties from several energy companies, including ConocoPhillips and Devon Energy, from investments in mineral rights, his financial disclosure forms show. ...
Hughes also has dabbled in the oil business himself, leasing the mineral rights on 11 parcels to different oil and gas exploration firms -- none of them BP -- according to his financial disclosure form filed last year. The report indicates Hughes received between $7,500 and $26,000 in royalties from those leases in 2008.