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BP Settles Claims from 2010 Oil Spill

In 2010 the gulf coast was devastated by a catastrophic oil spill when a concrete core in the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig cracked, sending natural gas up to its Dark clouds of smoke and fire emerge as oil burns during a controlled fire in the Gulf of Mexico, 6 May 2010

platform whereupon it ignited.[1] The explosion killed 11 workers and injured 17, but the tragedy didn’t end there. In the following days, the rig would capsize causing oil to leak into the ocean at a peak rate of 60,000 barrels a day, spilling a total to exceed 3 million barrels. [2] Five years later, the economic and environmental effects of this disaster are still felt by communities most local to the collapsed rig.

It’s hard to say for certain what the long term effects of such a massive oil spill will be, but as of 2013 it was confirmed that bottlenose dolphins near Barataria Bay were showing signs of petroleum hydrocarbon poisoning. [3] Additionally, there has been a decline in native wildlife populations due to loss of habitat and poisoning from the oil spill. [2] The loss in wildlife has had negative effects on the economy; previously very productive oyster reefs off the Gulf Coast are no longer producing nearly enough oysters, thereby putting a lot of people out of work. BP would later be brought to court in a mass litigation by the US federal government and over 400 local government agencies from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Federal and State governments sought restitution for natural resource damages, Clean Water Act violations, and damage to local economies. [4]

Bay Jimmy, Plaquemines Parish; September 15, 2010

 On July 2nd, 2015 BP finally announced that it had reached an agreement in settling all claims on the federal and state levels regarding the spill, however the civil settlement is awaiting judge approval. As it stands, BPXP will be made to pay a $5.5 billion penalty under the Clean Water Act, as well as $7.1 billion to the US and gulf states for natural resource damages, but over a period of 15 years. Additionally, they have already committed to paying $1 billion for restoration and $232 million to cover any future currently unknown natural resource damages. The five Gulf Coast states will be further compensated for economic claims with $4.9 billion to be paid over 18 years, and about $1 billion will be given to over 400 Gulf Coast governments local to the spill that filed claims for damages. [4] The wrongful deaths, great bodily injuries and environmental devastation engendered by the negligence of BPXP stands as a monument of corporate greed run amok.


1. “Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2015. Web. 17 Jul. 2015 http://www.britannica.com/event/Deepwater-Horizon-oil-spill-of-2010

2. Elliott, Debbie. “5 Years After BP Oil Spill, Effects Linger And Recovery Is Slow.” NPR. NPR, 20 Apr. 2015. Web. 17 July 2015. http://www.npr.org/2015/04/20/400374744/5-years-after-bp-oil-spill-effectslinger-and-recovery-is-slow

3. Elliott, Debbie. “Scientists Charge BP Oil Spill ‘Gravely’ Injured Dolphins.” NPR. NPR, 19 Dec. 2013. Web. 17 July 2015. http://www.npr.org/2013/12/19/255406326/scientists-charge-bp-oil-spill-gravelyinjured-dolphins

4. “BP.” To Settle Federal, State and Local Deepwater Horizon Claims for up to $18.7 Billion With Payments to Be Spread Over 18 Years. N.p., 2 July 2015. Web. 17 July 2015. http://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/press/press-releases/bp-to-settle-federal-state-localdeepwater-horizon-claims.html

Photo Credits:

Oil rig burning: This image is a work of a U.S. military or Department of Defense employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Defense.gov_photo_essay_100506-N-6070S-819.jpg#/media/File:Defense.gov_photo_essay_100506-N-6070S-819.jpg

Bay Jimmy, Plaquemines Parish (9152010) by Louisiana GOHSEP – Flickr: Bay Jimmy, Plaquemines Parish (9/15/2010). Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bay_Jimmy,_Plaquemines_Parish_(9152010).jpg#/media/File:Bay_Jimmy,_Plaquemines_Parish_(9152010).jpg