As the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig continues to spill 5,000 barrels a day into the Gulf of Mexico, the oil slick threatens landfall in the precious estuaries of Louisiana and prompts a slew of lawsuits.
According to today’s Bloomberg article, plaintiffs have filed at least 26 lawsuits against BP Plc and Transociean Ltd. for the oil spill in the Gulf, including 21 proposed class action suits. A number of suits also name Cameron International Corp. and Halliburton Energy Services Inc.
Plaintiffs range from those involved in the commercial seafood industry, such as fishermen, shrimpers, seafood companies and charter boat businesses to beachfront property owners, with suits filed in courts in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
Louisiana’s seafood industry provides one-third of the seafood harvested in the U.S. and is a 2.4 billion dollar industry.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Robert Kennedy Jr., president of the Waterkeeper Alliance filed a class action suit on behalf of Louisiana shrimpers. Of the 20 acts listed, they accuse BP and other companies of failing to properly operate the Deepwater Horizon, operating it in such a manner that a fire and explosion occurred onboard, causing it to sink and resulting in an oil spill and failing to properly inspect the rig.
Amid harsh criticism for BP’s lack of a solution to stop the spill since the April 20 explosion, federal, state and local government, as well as many private organizations help contain the spill and minimize the damage.
“So, let me be clear. I continue to believe that domestic oil production is an important part of our overall strategy for energy security, but I’ve always said it must be done responsibly, for the safety of our workers and our environment,” said President Obama in a statement given just before 11:00 a.m. this morning in the White House rose garden. “The local economies and livelihoods of the people of the Gulf Coast as well as the ecology of the region are at stake. And we’re going to continue to update the American people on the situation in the Gulf going forward.”
According to the President, five staging areas are operating to protect the shorelines, with approximately 1,900 federal response personnel and more than 300 response vessels and aircraft on location. They have laid about 217,000 feet of protective boom and intend to lay more.
In a White House press briefing at noon, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced that the government would use all available resources, possibly even Department of Defense capabilities that are unknown to the commercial and private sector.
Federal authorities, including the Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, Interior and the EPA are monitoring BP’s cleanup efforts.