April 28,2015 nbc news
Petroleum giant BP could face hundreds of more trials in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico after a federal judge ruled that cleanup workers who develop serious medical problems after a 2012 court settlement are entitled to jury trials.
The 2012 settlement left the door open for plaintiffs in the settlement who develop major illnesses later in life to file separate suits against BP. The company had argued that such so-called back-end litigation cases had to be decided by a judge, but in a ruling dated Monday, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said BP was wrong. Such patients, he wrote, deserve to have their complaints heard by juries, which are generally considered to be more favorable to people suing corporations.
In a one-sentence statement Tuesday, BP said it “disagrees with the Court’s ruling and is considering its options.”
The explosion on the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April 2010 caused around 200 million gallons of crude oil to spill into the Gulf of Mexico. In September, Barbier found BP “grossly negligent” for its role in the spill, a ruling that could add billions of dollars in fines to the more than $42 billion taken so far for the worst offshore disaster in U.S. history. The U.S. Supreme Court in December rejected BP’s challenge to the settlement agreement.
Click here to watch “The Great Invincible” on PBS (until May 20, 2015)
In 2010, the Gulf Coast was devastated by the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, killing 11 and dumping 210 million gallons of oil into the sea. In The Great Invisible, crew members, families, and fishermen still haunted by the disaster provide gripping first-hand accounts of their experience.
The Enduring Mystery of the Missing Oil Spilt in the Gulf of Mexico – Scientific American
Workers uncovered a tar mat weighing some 18,000 kilograms just offshore of a natural barrier island in Louisiana in the summer of 2013. Although the tar mat turned out to bear more sand than oil, it represented another small fraction of the hydrocarbons that went missing after BP’s blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Continue reading
Cat Island, off the Gulf Coast in Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish, was home to a vibrant bird rookery inhabited by brown pelicans, seagulls, spoonbills, and egrets before BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. Five years after the largest oil spill in American history, the barrier island has just about disappeared.
Despite ongoing efforts by former Plaquemines Parish coastal zone manager PJ Hahn to restore the island, only the needed building permits and an engineering plan have been completed.
Peter Moskowitz in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana
To hear BP tell it, the environmental disaster that struck the Gulf of Mexico five years ago is nearly over – the beaches have been cleared of oil, and the water in the Gulf is as clear as it ever was. But how do you spot a continued disaster if its main indicator is the absence of something?