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FACTORS IN THE MATRIX THAT SHAPED BP OIL SPILL RECOVERY: LAWS AND LAWSUITS.
FACTORS IN THE MATRIX THAT SHAPED BP OIL SPILL RECOVERY: LAWS AND LAWSUITS
After the spill, America was left asking: What do we do now? Though the average American thought the answer was simple (clean up the oil and pay people for damages as soon as possible), there was much more to the story that seemed to go unconsidered. American laws, acts, and regulations, as well as exaggerated damage claims and lawsuits, heled to play a significant role in the delay of the BP spill cleanup and recovery.
* Citations for collage images can be found on the works cited pages.
▪ The Jones Act
▪ EPA Regulation
▪ The Death on the High Seas Act
▪ False or exaggerated claims
▪ Conflicts of interest
▪ Corruption in organizations
▪ After the BP spill it was proposed (by both Democrats
andRepublicans) to raise this cap to $10 billion, but this
proposal was rejected.
- Sand berms
- Oil skimmer-equipped ships
- extra dredging tools
▪ Despite the Dutch offer to provide skimmers, the American
Government declined their assistance because these
skimmers put the cleaner, though still oil-residue filled,
water back into the ocean.
▪ As of June 8th, BP had claimed to have cleaned up nearly
65,000 barrels of oil The skimmers from the Netherlands
could have collected that much in a single day (“Inflexible EPA
regulations prevented oil spill cleanup”).
If all of this money was available . . .
▪ bankruptcy of businesses (i.e. fishing, boating, bait)
▪ lost property and lost wages
▪ wrongful death and suits by family members of deceased
or illness from dispersants, oil, or fumes (Corexit).
▪ mental problems due to stress and personal injury
(including suicide cases)
▪ claims under the Endangered Species Act
▪ Gulf Wildlife legal action from groups including Save the
Manatee Club and the Gulf Restoration Network
▪ shareholders sue for being mislead about operational
▪ other class-action lawsuits
▪ some applicants lacked proper documentation of their
losses or had no documentation at all.
▪ some applicants were simply ineligible.
▪ claims were exaggerated to get more money than they were
▪ In other instances, multiple claims were filed for the exact
-Initially these false claims caused delay and the true
claims were undercompensated.
*Some involved in these complications could face criminal fraud
(“Gulf Oil Well Rupture: Claims Against BP Take Time,” 2010, “Gulf oil spill claims process under fire,” 2011, and Restuccia, 2010).
Kenneth Feinberg (leading the Gulf Coast Claims Facility) accused of:
▪ refusing to disclose information
▪ hiding his money that BP is paying his
firm each month to run the GCCF:
▪ encouraging applicants to avoid
other firms to file complaints with
and insisting that more money will
be awarded through the GCCF (which
takes away the right to sue BP, thus
saving the company more money)
(“Important Conflict of Interest Arises with Oil Spill Claims Process,” 2011).
of any losses.
▪ Since BP lost roughly $30 billion yet overpaid in pervious
years, it would be possible for the company to claim
around $10 billion (Ironic that this was the newly proposed
Oil Pollution Act cap) (“BP seeks $9.9 billion tax credit for oil spill
From exactly where President Obama promised it would not . . . the taxpayers.
Question: Where would this $10 billion come from?
▪ i.e. In the Netherlands, a company is given 12 hours to handle an oil spill
before the government steps in and takes over the operation (Donovan, 2010).
- It’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Legal claims still remain unsettled and many others have yet to receive
- Tar balls are still rolling onto the coastline.
- Marshlands are still full of thick oil, killing the grass and harming wildlife.
- Oil has been found settled (and not degrading) on the seabed.
“Deepwater energy exploration and production, particularly at the frontiers of experience, involve risks for which neither industry nor government has been adequately prepared, but for which they can and must be prepared in the future” (Saxe, 2011).
“The technology, laws and regulations, and practices for containing, responding to, and cleaning up spills lag behind the real risks associated with deepwaterdrilling into large, high-pressure reservoirs of oil and gas located far offshore and thousands of feet below the ocean’s surface. Government must close the existing gap and industry must support rather than resist that effort” (Saxe, 2011).