NOT SO FAST On August 5, BP requested in federal court in New Orleans that the judge suspend any settlement payments for claims resulting from the Deepwater Horizon explosion that spewed 210 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico over the summer of 2010. The British oil giant claimed that it had uncovered new allegations of fraud and conflicts of interest inside the settlement program.
The request came days after Bloomberg Businessweek published an interview with BP CEO Robert Dudley, in which he said that he expected the BP claim process to be over by now, blaming the volume on “ambulance chasing” attorneys.
The request also came after the company had spent millions advertising in daily newspapers a toll-free “snitch” line for people to turn in their neighbors for fraudulent claims.
Hmmm, is it just me? I detect a pattern here.
The BP spin machine is cranking back up. In 2010, the media was the bad guy for supposedly exaggerating the spill. We now know, through sworn statements, that BP’s initial estimates of what was leaking from the well were off by more than 40,000 barrels per day.
We warned about the damage to marine life and cleanup workers from the nearly 2 million gallons of dispersant used on the crude oil. Now we know that the Corexit oil dispersant increased the toxicity of the spill by up to 52 times. There is a “dearth of marine life” in a 50-mile radius around the capped well.
Studies have shown cleanup workers have a variety of health issues, including skin problems, breathing issues, coughing and mental health problems. And those are only the initial studies. It may be years before we fully understand the health and environmental impacts of the oil disaster.
Dudley didn’t mention any of those studies in his interview. He didn’t mention the 11 men who lost their lives in the explosion. In his mind, BP is the injured party.
According to Dudley, Gulf Coast residents and business owners are now the villains. BP, of course, remains the good guy in their media campaign. We are cast as ungrateful, greedy, litigious crooks.
Fortunately, the spin isn’t working. The federal judge ordered BP to continue funding the claim settlements. The toll-free line has been flooded by Gulf Coast residents calling to complain about the company’s failures in doing what it promised in 2010.
BP’s greed led to the oil disaster. They can whine all they want, but we aren’t letting them off the hook.