Earlier this month, British Petroleum finalized its settlement with federal and state lawsuits as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The total figure is a record $20.8 billion. The claim includes cleanup and restoration costs as well as $5.5 billion in penalties for violating the Clean Water Act. Included in this amount is $8.8 billion for coastal marsh restoration, with $5 billion guaranteed to the state of Louisiana.
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is considered one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in history, and the single largest accidental oil spill with over 4.9 million barrels leaked into the Gulf of Mexico. The leak was a result of an offshore oil rig exploding and sinking. Eleven lives were also lost as a result of the accident.
The accident caused significant ecological damage, killing trillions of larval fish, sea turtles, birds and other marine life. The economic costs came in the form of massive cleanup efforts, restoration of certain species and lost revenue from recreational activities.
Louisiana has created a Master Plan that breaks down the allocation of the settlement money towards specific concern areas. Four billion dollars are slated to wetlands, coastal and nearshore habitats while, $50 million is earmarked specifically for marine mammal restoration. Additional earmarks include $38 million for enhanced recreational opportunities, $10 million for sea turtles and $148.5 million for birds.
Although the state has created guidelines for these areas, individual projects must be approved by a board made of state and federal agency members. Two public meetings are scheduled this month on the proposed restoration plan: Oct. 19 in Houma and Oct. 21in New Orleans. For more details, click here.
The true cost of this oil spill will likely not be known for decades. In addition to the huge ecological and wildlife habitat damage, millions of people were exposed to crude oil as a result of the Deepwater Horizon spill. Toxic exposure poses significant and long-term health risks, including cancer, lung problems, brain damage, birth defects and more.
If you or a loved one has suffered from environmental damage due to an oil spill or oil company negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Simien & Simien, experienced Louisiana environmental damage lawyers, for a free consultation today.