$7.8 Billion Settlement for Gulf Oil SpillMark Clore ·
Plaintiffs' Oil Spill Settlement
BP reached a settlement to compensated the businesses and people affected by the 2010 oil spill, but it does not provide for the environmental damages. BP announced $7.8 billion settlement with the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs can accept the amount provided by this settlement or choose to pursue reparation directly from BP. You should consult an attorney to understand your option if you were effected by the oil spill. Despite any shortcoming in this settlement, it should be viewed as a legal accomplishment. It took only 2 years to reach an agreement that will help the plaintiffs recovery from the financial effects of this disaster. The Exxon Valdez took more than 20 years to reach a settlement. While this news should be welcomed, there is a downside too. It is expected to use a separate victims' claim fund which was also meant to cover environmental damages. This means it not only doesn't provide for ecological damages, but reduces others funds set aside for that purpose.
Environmental Cost of an Oil Spill
The Justice Department expressed concerns the settlement does not address "significant damages" to natural resources and the environment. The oil spill affected beaches, killed wildlife and closed much of the Gulf to commercial fishing for months. Scientist fear the future environmental contamination. There is speculation oil beneath the surface will eventually find its way to the Gulf shores. Under the current settlement, there is no funding to research and prevent future environmental harm caused by the Deep Water Horizon catastrophe. Estimates of a settlement to resolve natural resource damage claims to be between $20 billion to $25 billion, including civil fines. Environmental contamination lawsuits benefit the public in two ways. First, the money goes towards restoring the environment for public use and enjoyment from the offender's negligent actions. Secondly, it motivates companies to prevent similar events in the future. For profit businesses are strongly motivate by factor that affect their bottom line.
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