Oil giant BP is challenging hundreds of millions of dollars in claims that were filed by businesses after the company's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The total price tag for BP's oil spill is huge — $42.5 billion. At issue here is a fraction of that — but still a lot of money. BP says $540 million has been awarded to businesses for losses that "are either nonexistent, exaggerated or have nothing to do with the Deepwater Horizon accident."
BP is fighting the settlement it agreed to last summer that let the oil company avoid thousands of potential lawsuits over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Just after the spill, when oil was still gushing into the Gulf, BP touted the $20 billion it set aside for claims. But now it says the claim process is corrupt and is hoping a court will overturn the settlement that established the claims fund.
Ending the claims would mean stopping a well-oiled machine.
Five states and leaders of several federal agencies have unanimously approved a blueprint to repair the Gulf of Mexico with BP fines pending over the 2010 oil spill. Governor Bobby Jindal’s comments in New Orleans about BP and his support for Mississippi River diversions drew immediate criticism.
Debbie Elliott is NPR’s national correspondent based in Alabama. She has covered the 2010 BP oil spill, and its aftermath, since the beginning.
Reporting in Terrebone Parish in 2010, Elliott met the Chauvin family that had been shrimpers for five generations before the disaster. Now covering the trial over BP’s liability for the spill, Elliott tells WRKF’s Ashley Westerman that family story is one that has stuck with her.
BP says it has failed to reach a settlement in advance of next week's civil trial on the Deepwater Horizon accident and is ready to defend itself vigorously against allegations of gross negligence in the U.S.'s biggest environmental disaster.
Rupert Bondy, the group's general counsel, said in a statement Tuesday that settlement demands were "not based on reality or the merits of the case."
Billions are at stake in the Feb. 25 trial in New Orleans to determine BP's civil liability. BP already agreed to a $4.5 billion settlement of federal criminal charges.
The British oil company, BP, announced its 4th quarter earnings today, and its net profit was about a billion dollars lower than a year earlier. BP has been shrinking as assets have been sold off to pay for its liabilities tied to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.