The BP oil spill is one of the worst and most expensive disasters in Louisiana and American history. In the spring of 2010, the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon suffered an explosion that killed 11 workers and sent 134 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The Deepwater Horizon spill is considered the worst environmental disaster of all time, and caused $8.8 billion in natural resources damage.
In 2014, a federal judge ruled BP had been negligent (67 percent responsible), which set the stage for the news we will discuss today. Halliburton (3 percent liability) and Transocean (30 percent liability) also share some of the responsibility for the Deepwater Horizon spill.
Why did a federal judge rule BP had been negligent? In a 153-page ruling, it was found BP had repeatedly cut costs even though it created safety risks. For example, the decision to drill despite the risk of debris clogging a valve. The clogged valve allowed natural gas to build up, which eventually ignited and caused an explosion. This is a perfect example of a business putting profits before the lives of workers and others.
How the $20 Billion BP Settlement Will Work
Earlier this month, a federal judge in New Orleans gave final approval for a $20 billion settlement that will be paid out over a 16-year period. The settlement will include $8.8 billion for natural resources damage (which includes $1 billion for restoration projects), $5.5 billion for Clean Water Act penalties, $4.9 billion for economic damage claims in Gulf states, $1 billion for local governments and $600 million for miscellaneous claims.
People, businesses, cities and states affected by this awful disaster will finally be given compensation. Louisiana will receive $6.8 billion as part of the settlement.
Despite the settlement helping Louisiana, business owners and cities, this disaster has also caused irreparable damage. The 11 victims who lost their lives from this preventable disaster left behind families and children. Much can be learned about the BP disaster and why workplace safety in the oil industry is of the utmost importance. It is never acceptable for businesses to put profits before the lives of workers.
The Lafayette personal injury attorneys at Galloway Jefcoat are dedicated to fighting for justice when workers are injured by negligent businesses.