This "ruling" proves the assertion that leniency is extended to they who have the means/wealth and the have-nots without means to pay counsel to represent them end up in prison along with being charged with exorbitant fines. The very idea that this sociopath exec can seriously jeopardize/threaten the lives and well-being of thousands of people/wildlife/fish and the environment through blatant ongoing negligence and then drive off in his Bentley on the way to his bank to access his million$$$ is reprehensible and demonstrates what a sham our legal/justice (justice is only for those with enough money to buy it) system has become. Southern should be made to pay restitution to everyone within 200 miles of the site of the spill.
Freedom Industries declared bankruptcy within days of the spill (Jan, 2014). Freedom Industries was immediately bought by Chemstream: "Chemstream is owned by Clifford Forrest, president of Rosebud Mining, a Kittanning, Pa.-based company he founded in 1979 and which is now the third-largest underground coal producer in Pennsylvania with 1,400 employees in Pennsylvania and Ohio." The first thing Forrest did was name Southern the CEO who was also compensated $20 million in bonuses. For him a $300,000 fine is chump change. I would bet that the next step is for his jail time (sentence commuted) to be reduced to 100 hours of community service. Ugh!
Since the Reagan administration opened up corporations to merge with virtually no regulatory or legal impediments (with the "rationale" that such mergers/acquisitions would create more jobs...lies, lies, lies...their favorite MO); a large, thick, virtually impenetrable wall of protection from any and all consumer access was created. this wall has only grown over the last 30+ years. GWB and his band of brigands added an immeasurable amount of fortification to that wall.
Justice has not been served.