BP and the Coast Guard jointly announced that the cleanup that was begun after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 has come to an end in three Gulf Coast states. More than three years after the worst oil spill in U.S. history, the oil company says that the coastlines of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida have now been returned to pre-spill conditions.
Despite the supposed good news for Mississippi, officials say the oil spill cleanup process continues in Louisiana which still sees frequent appearance of tar balls and other debris washing up on the coastlines, especially on barrier islands. Officials with the Coast Guard say that though things are not yet perfect in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, conditions have returned to near normal and that it made sense to end the expensive cleanup process at this point.
Officials in cities along the Gulf Coast have been adamant that the problems are not yet solved; with some saying tar balls continue to wash ashore in Mississippi and Alabama every week. However, the Coast Guard says that BP will remain responsible for any instances of oil reappearance and that as tar continues to occasionally wash ashore, the oil company will be expected to have it cleaned up.
This issue of reoccurrence is especially important given how much oil the Gulf Coast saw stirred up during the 2012 Hurricane Isaac. Experts say as much as 1 million barrels of oil remain unaccounted for and believe that much of it is sitting on the ocean floor. When strong storms move through the water is churned up releasing sometimes large deposits of old oil onto already fragile Gulf Coast states.
BP has said that while the major cleanup winds down, it wants to make clear that it will continue cleaning up new oil that it says can be traced back to the Deepwater Horizon spill. Some say this is good news while others have questioned whether this means BP will litigate every tar ball to determine whether it is directly related to the massive oil spill from 2010. The hope is that the company lives up to its obligations and keeps the Gulf Coast clean.
Officials say the company has paid dearly for the oil spill which lasted for nearly three months. In total, many estimate that the company has paid $32 billion. Of this, $14 billion is believed to have gone towards cleanup costs while another $8 billion was set aside for settlement of claims by private individuals and small businesses. Currently BP is in the process of suing to have restrictions placed on how much it pays to such claimants, arguing that the current system unfairly rewards victims of the oil spill. Plaintiffs say that BP is merely trying to get out of a deal it entered into too hastily and is now trying to leave genuine victims in the lurch.
If you’ve been impacted by this or any other oil spill, don’t hesitate to contact the Mississippi and Louisiana BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill lawyers at Kilpatrick & Philley at toll free 601-707-4669.
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