Thursday, December 16, 2010

Feds sue companies behind BP oil disaster as extent of damages continues to emerge (video)

Feds sue companies behind BP oil disaster as extent of damages continues to emerge (video)

By Sue Sturgis, Facing South

Brown Pelican... Black Beach
The Department of Justice announced yesterday that it was suing BP and eight other defendants for their roles in the oil rig disaster that claimed the lives of 11 workers and spilled 172 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.


The defendants named in the suit include BP Exploration and Production Inc., Anadarko Exploration & Production LP, Anadarko Petroleum Corp., MOEX Offshore 2007 LLC, Triton Asset Leasing GMBH, Transocean Holdings LLC, Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc., Transocean Deepwater Inc., and QBE Underwriting Ltd./Lloyd's Syndicate 1036.

Not named in the suit are companies such as Halliburton that provided services to the well, or companies that manufactured components that malfunctioned such as Cameron International, maker of the blowout preventer.

The government's action will now join hundreds of other lawsuits filed over the Gulf oil disaster.

In its complaint [pdf], the federal government alleges violations of federal safety regulations, including failures to take necessary precautions to secure the well prior to the explosion, utilize the best technology to monitor the well's condition, maintain continuous surveillance of the well, and utilize and maintain safety equipment appropriately.

"We intend to prove that these violations caused or contributed to this massive oil spill, and that the defendants are therefore responsible -- under the Oil Pollution Act -- for government removal costs, economic losses, and environmental damages," said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

The DOJ is also seeking civil penalties under the Clean Water Act, alleging that the defendants were in violation of the law while the oil was spilling into the Gulf. The government did not attempt to place a dollar figure on the amount it's seeking from the defendants, instead holding them liable "without limitation."

During the press conference announcing the lawsuit, Holder said that the spill "has been contained." And while it's true that the well is no longer gushing oil into the Gulf, the oil that was spilled from April through July continues to wash up along the coast.

That point was driven home by a video released yesterday by Hurricane Creekkeeper John Wathen showing the ongoing cleanup operations on Alabama's Dauphin Island, a tourism center and home to a number of bird sanctuaries. Though cleanup workers were toiling along the beach, Wathen says he's never seen the area in such bad condition, with the beaches stained yellow-brown, thick black mats of a mysterious rubbery substance covering large areas, and the surf a foamy brown and stinking of petroleum.

"My greatest fear is that this is only the beginning," Wathen says in the video. "This is only the first year after the disaster. How much more is going to wash up on our beaches? How much more is going to wash up on the marshes? How much more from Texas to Florida is going to die in the Gulf of Mexico before this government and BP comes clean with the people and tells them exactly what we're facing down there? This is a disaster of historic proportions and the people once again are paying the price for greed, profit and lack of accountability."

Watch it here




  1. I was wondering if you could help us please. My husband and I have spent several Christmas holidays on Dauphin Island. It broke our hearts to see the damage from the oil spill all across the island and other areas. We knew that we would want to return as soon as possible to help support the local economy.

    Funny thing is when I have asked about our rental on Dauphin they say there is no oil on the beaches at all!

    This blog is the only one I have found that talks about the damage to the beaches etc. I did find a news page that spoke of a new clean up effort.

    So I was wondering can you tell me if there is oil on the west end beaches at Dauphin? Are there cleaning crews there now and will they be there from Christmas through New Years?

    We certainly do not want to stay if we can't walk on the beach and we do not want to listen to cleaning equipment running all day long as well.

    It will be sad if we can't spend Christmas there because we just love the little island and the people. However we can't get a straight answer from the owners. They just keep telling us there is no oil on the beaches.

    After reading your blog I find their information to be incorrect. Can you advise on the situation there now?

    The blog is just wonderful. It is so tragic and it seems the rest of the country thinks everything is back to normal. I can't imagine it being back to normal for decades but that's just my opinion.

    Thank you so very much and have a very blessed Christmas.

  2. As far as I know, there are cleaning operations on 6 locations across the island. That includes both ends and several others spread throughout the beach.


Please keep comments free of vulgarity. Your message will be deleted if not.
This thing is vulgar by it's self.