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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

5 Year Retrospective on the Gulf Oil Spill

The tragedy of the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, the resulting oil spill, and the pronounced impact it all had on the Gulf of Mexico is now approaching an ignominious five year anniversary. Most of the business industries and employees affected by the spill have yet to be compensated, and many probably never will. The impact on the gulf from the sheer quantity of hundreds of millions of gallons of oil and millions of gallons of dispersants has left a yet unquantifiable amount of damage. Just weeks ago, another 10 million gallon mat of BP oil from the spill was found on the ocean floor in yet another area now completely devoid of aquatic life. The long term health effects from unprotected exposure to the hydrocarbons and toxic dispersants is another dark and looming consequence of the recklessness of a gluttonous international oil conglomerate and their associates. BP had already pled guilty to 15 counts of criminal manslaughter in 2007 (and serving probation) for a disaster in their Texas City refinery when 11 more innocent souls were lost on the Horizon. Numerous other BP employees and contractors have died on the job before and after. BP’s record on environmental and occupational compliance is horrendous, by far the worst in an industry itself that has always ranked at the very bottom in every quantifiable measurement on occupational safety and health. Even this week, their own employees in various refineries are on strike over the deplorable safety and health practices within their company.

Since the Horizon explosion, BP and their allies have engaged in a massive PR campaign, one that has so far successfully and completely masked over what has really been happening to the gulf over the last five years and to the people whose lives were forever transformed. This smear campaign and misinformation campaign has been well orchestrated, utilizing hundreds of millions of BP marketing dollars and the assistance of the US Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholder allies.

It is our immediate goal to start shining a light on what is really happening. Our firm has over 10,000 clients still waiting for restitution. Hundreds of thousands of others also are still stuck in the waiting game. Many hundreds of thousands of other victims gave up or never even pursued compensation through the strategies of delay, castigation, and false communication orchestrated by BP’s massive international public relations campaigns, layers of paperwork, and intensive legal maneuvering.

The international media is now starting to return their focus to the disaster of the gulf spill to see what has really transpired over the last five years. MSNBC and the Ed Shultz show recently went on-location in Florida and Louisiana and are now presenting a week long expose into the matter. Our firm is proud to help support this investigation by providing insight, commentary and our own clients and witnesses for the programming, which is airing in sections every day this week on the Ed Show, 5pm EST. I hope to again be joining Ed on his show this Friday to further discuss the legal aspects of the oil spill. We encourage all of you to follow this story, and many others we hope to see follow, that again refocus the cameras and the investigations into what is really transpiring in hundreds of local economies that were devastated from that disaster.
BP originally pledged to our White House, in the first months after the spill, that they would immediately post a $20 Billion dollar fund to begin the reparations process. With that, the media soon left to cover other stories. What the public doesn’t realize is that after that announcement was made and the fund was created, BP SHUT IT DOWN. Very little of those monies were ever delivered as promised and the program was killed.

A “class action” was created as a substitute claims process in order to corral most claims (and BP’s legal exposure). After that strategy was successfully orchestrated, BP began the calculated process of beating claimants down, objecting to every aspect of their own settlement agreement and by appealing every possible issue. Today, almost five years later, publicly filed reports show that BP has only paid 35 claims out of 3,428 who LOST THEIR BUSINESS COMPLETELY as a result of the spill. BP has paid less than 2% of all filed vendor economic loss cases, and they have paid less than 20% of ALL claimants in this settlement who have filed losses for their businesses or who worked in those industries and were laid off after the spill. They continue to refuse to PAY ANY claim associated to losses in the real estate industry, the financial industry, the gaming industry, and the offshore industries shut down from the spill. They even refuse to pay the various states on claims filed by each Attorney General in every affected state. And they have refused to pay the Department of Justice for fines associated to the spill, instead forcing a month’s long trial that ended only a few weeks ago.

We hope that everyone watches the programming this week, and the many other stories that our clients and other claimants will continue to share with the international media, so that BP will not win their billion dollar PR campaign against those they harmed. Bought and paid for advertising will not be able to withstand the scrutiny of an independent media and our public, so long as we can get our side of the story out.

We hope that everyone will join in this effort. Together, we can make a difference, a big difference.

Click below to watch the first segment of this expose from the Ed Show, which aired Monday. (Additional segments will air daily through this week).



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