BP oil spill did $17.2 billion in damage to natural resources. This is a sad story and a record that no one would want to match.
The 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill did $17.2 billion in damage to the natural resources in the Gulf of Mexico, a team of scientists recently found after a six-year study of the impact of the largest oil spill in U.S. history. This is the first comprehensive appraisal of the financial value of the natural resources damaged by the 134-million-gallon spill.
It is unprecedented that a private “responsible party” pays out $50 B for a hazmat incident. Apparently, the money for remedial efforts is likely to benefit the Gulf. See this NY Times editorial: BP Deal Will Lead to a Cleaner Gulf.
Though no amount of money can ever compensate for the staggering damage caused by the 2010 BP oil spill, last week’s provisional $18.7 billion settlement among five states, the federal government and the company will help make amends for one of the worst environmental disasters in American history. If approved by a federal judge, the deal will end years of legal battles and bring the total amount BP will pay for its role in the calamity to more than $50 billion. It will also provide a significant, continuing source of revenue for the repair and restoration of the Gulf of Mexico’s marshes, barrier islands, fisheries, deep-sea corals and other vulnerable elements of an ecosystem that had been ailing long before the spill.
Update on July 10. Here is another point of view, not so optimistic.
BP to Pay $18.7 Billion for Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. According to the NYTimes:
The Gulf Coast states and the federal government have reached a tentative settlement with BP for the British oil company to pay $18.7 billion over 18 years, to compensate for damages from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, state officials said Thursday.
“This is a landmark settlement,” Gov. Robert Bentley of Alabama said. “It is designed to compensate the state for all the damages, both environmental and economic.”
The settlement covers suits filed by Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas as well as the federal government.
Some additional information from The Guardian.
Some recent takes on the aftermath of the BP Oil spill:
From the Economist magazine, their account of what has been learned in the past five years.
From the Huffington Post: Deepwater Disaster: Five Years On
Five years after the BP blowout that killed 11 workers and dumped millions of barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration has proposed exposing Atlantic and Arctic waters to the risk of a similar disaster. Under a proposal by the Obama administration, oil and gas activity could begin in those waters as early as 2017. That would take us in exactly the wrong direction, exposing these waters to the risk of a catastrophic spill, expanding an inherently hazardous industrial operation at sea and locking the next generation into mountains more of the dangerous carbon pollution that’s driving climate change. It’s time to turn this ship around — before it’s too late.
And from Bloomberg: The BP oil spill cleanup isn’t a disaster.
A more dispassionate account of the spill’s legacy would emphasize several contrasting but not contradictory realities. Independent investigations and court rulings have blamed the intertwined negligence of BP and its contractors, Transocean and Halliburton, for the debacle, which killed 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon rig. A federal judge found that the spill released 3.19 million barrels of crude. The corporate actors—chiefly BP, the majority owner of Macondo—deserved condemnation and got it. Yet as bad as the environmental and economic damage
Five years after the Gulf of Mexico disaster, oil company faces a fine of up to $13.7bn as Judge Carl Barbier begins assessment. This Tuesday, close to five years after an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig claimed 11 lives and poured millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, a judge in New Orleans will begin his final reckoning for one of the worst environmental disasters in US history.
Judge Carl Barbier has presided over the complex case brought by the US government against the well’s operators and this week will start assessing the final fine BP, the oil company held most responsible for the disaster, will pay.
The aftermath of the disaster has been an ugly affair. The environmental devastation is still being assessed. Scammers have targeted BP, leading the company to set up a “snitch line” for people to inform on those making potentially bogus claims. Barbier has criticised BP for going back on the terms of previous agreements to compensate victims of the spill. The company has taken out ads characterising itself as a victim of a “trial lawyer bonanza”.
Barbier is probably the only actor in the Deepwater disaster to have emerged with his reputation enhanced. Ed Sherman, a law professor at New Orleans’ Tulane University and expert in complex litigation, said the case was probably “the most complex of modern times”, involving multiples parties and maritime law, common law and statutory law. “He’s done a remarkable job,” said Sherman.
New research shows that the BP oil spill left an oily “bathtub ring” on the sea floor that’s about the size of Rhode Island.The study by UC Santa Barbara’s David Valentine, the chief scientist on the federal damage assessment research ships, estimates that about 10 million gallons of oil coagulated on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico around the damaged Deepwater Horizons oil rig. Valentine said the spill left other splotches containing even more oil. The rig blew on April 20, 2010, and spewed 172 million gallons of oil into the Gulf through the summer. Scientists are still trying to figure where all the oil went and what effects it had.
From the NY Times: BP Negligent in 2010 Oil Spill, U.S. Judge Rules
From the HuffPost: BP’s Recklessness Caused Gulf Oil Spill, U.S. Judge Rules
From the HSDL, details re the final report from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board on the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
See this news account of a just-released report from the Chemical Safety Board: Why Deepwater Horizon could happen again. Of special concern is the fact that the same faulty device is still being used. From the lead paragraph:
A new report investigating the cause of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster says the blowout preventer failed in a different way than previous investigations have concluded.
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board released the two-volume draft report the morning of June 5 and will consider it for approval at a public meeting scheduled for 4 p.m. Central Time June 5 at the Hilton Americas Hotel in Houston.
Update on June 6: From the WashPost, see New report on BP oil spill points to faulty blowout preventer procedures; Investigators says the drill pipe buckled in the first minutes of the Gulf of Mexico disaster.