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Gulf Oil Spill Property & Income Damage Claims

gulf oil birds coast boom

*** UPDATE 11-30-2010 ***

"'These chemicals, these are PAHs that are carcinogenic. … These items are not in any way appropriate for anyone to eat,” said Ed Cake, an environmental consultant from Ocean Springs. “There’s no low-dose level that’s acceptable to eat.'…"
- Zero Hedge : Scientists Confirm that Dispersants Are Increasing Contamination in the Gulf

*** UPDATE 11-23-2010 ***

"Tar Balls. Not quite as appetizing a shrimp side dish as cocktail sauce. But according to FOX 10 News, that's just what the shrimp boat Our Mother caught in its net this past week - enough tar balls to ruin thousands of dollars worth of shrimp."
- The Huffington Post : Oil Spill Found On Shrimp Seafood In Newly Opened Gulf Waters (VIDEO)

*** UPDATE 11-10-2010 ***

"In two separate cases, a toxicologist and a chemist independently confirmed their seafood samples contained unusually high volumes of crude oil and harmful hydrocarbons -- and some of this food was allegedly being sent to market."
- The Raw Story : Exclusive: Multiple independent lab tests confirm oil in Gulf shrimp

*** UPDATE 07-02-2010 ***

"The booms protecting islands and marshes have been torn from their anchors. Sand bags have been overwhelmed. The headline is that Hurricane Alex is delaying the clean-up. But what is really going on is that Hurricane Alex is making a real clean-up unlikely."
- Hurricane Alex Halts Efforts to Deal with Gulf Oil Gusher

*** UPDATE 06-15-2010 ***

"As it turns out, another good way to guarantee that you won't play a part in the clean-up effort is to have any expertise in the field of cleaning up oil at all!"
BP has not accepted help from thousands of volunteer workers nor from volunteer oil spill experts.
- The HuffingtonPost: BP: Oil Spill Expert Volunteers Need Not Apply (VIDEO)

This article from 06-05-2010 discusses the issue as well, "Fishermen who've been hired to do cleanup and containment work in BP's Gulf Coast oil spill have been told they would be fired for using their own respirators or safety equipment that wasn't provided by BP, reported Louisiana Environmental Action Network, a Louisana-based environmental group. "
- The HuffingtonPost: Two Ways To Get Fired From The Oil Spill Cleanup Effort

*** UPDATE 06-09-2010 ***

What's Really In BP's Oil Spill Dispersants?
"The Obama administration and members of Congress have raised concerns about the substances, which are supposedly more toxic than available alternatives." - Mother Jones

"...In addition, a May 2010 report by the Centers for Disease Control concluded that “because of the strict guidelines that must be followed to utilize dispersants, it is unlikely that the general public will be exposed (directly) to (the) product.” "
COREXIT Ingredients

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"BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles continues to insist that no massive underwater oil plumes in "large concentrations" have been detected from the spill in the Gulf of Mexico."
The Huffington Post: Support For Offshore Drilling Plummets In Florida

"Scientists on a team analyzing the flow said Tuesday that the amount of crude still spewing into the Gulf of Mexico might be considerably greater than what the government and company have claimed."
The Huffington Post: Gulf Oil Spill Burn: BP Plans To Use EverGreen Burner To Dispose Of Oil


BP does have an eye of pollution. Atleast at the pump...

* * * * *

An oil spill of massive proportions is underway following the deadly incident on the oil drilling rig Transocean Deepwater Horizon 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana in which 11 workers were lost and presumed dead. After an explosion and fire on April 20, 2010, the oil rig sank two days later on April 22. The drilling rig was being operated by British Petroleum (BP) at the time.

There may be more than oil that is seeping to the surface after the Transocean Deepwater Horizon disaster. There is a potential for economic and property damage claims to fishermen, oyster farms, tourism and Gulf ports. Presently the oil slick is oozing its way toward delicate natural resources on coastal lands in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

Damage Claims to the Fishing Industry

As economic losses begin to mount, class-action lawsuits have been filed by the commercial fishing industry. Companies named in the lawsuits so far are:

  • Transocean - the lessor of the drilling rig, Deepwater Horizon
  • British Petroleum - the lessee of the drilling platform
  • Halliburton Energy Services - involved in cementing the well and well cap
  • Cameron International - the supplier of rig's blow-out prevention equipment that failed
gulf oil spill shrimp boats

The oil spill is threatening to close access to the livelihoods of people in the fishing industry for an undetermined amount of time.

The damages could amount to tens of millions of dollars or even hundreds of millions dollars. Right now it's too early to tell. Mike Voisin, owner of Motavatit Seafoods in Houma, Louisiana says that there are over 400 species of oysters, shrimp, and fish that depend on the area.

Economic Damages to Gulf Ports

The fishing industry is not the only commercial enterprise that could incur damages.

Nearly one-sixth of America's trade cargo is handled by five Gulf Coast ports. In 2003, the total tonnage of land and sea trade cargo was 1,126 million tons. One hundred seventy-eight million tons passed through the ports of New Orleans and South Louisiana, the port of Mobile, Alabama, the ports of Pascagoula and Gulfport, Mississippi.

  • The Port of New Orleans - 50 million tons
  • The Port of South Louisiana - 80 million tons
  • The Port of Gulfport, Mississippi - 2 million tons
  • The Port of Pascagoula, Mississippi - 21 million tons
  • The Port of Mobile, Alabama - 25 million tons

The importance to commodity trade from Gulf ports should not be underestimated. It affects not only Americans but also a vast array of farms, businesses, and workplaces around the world. Port operations touch Midwestern corn growers, rubber tappers from Indonesia, zinc miners from Namibia, computers assembled in Malaysian, as well as coffee plantation workers in Colombia, Rwanda and Guatemala.

The Affect of the Oil Spill on Tourism

The oil spill could also impact the tourism sector that is vital to Gulf Coast economies.

A recent Reuter’s article comments on this point. In the article, George Crozier, director of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, a state marine research facility, noted that Gulf coast residents and businesses in Alabama are very worried about the possible impact on tourism if the oil slick gets blown east.

According to the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, tourism supports 41,000 workers in the area. In 2008, $2.3 billion was spent by tourists on Alabama's beaches.

The Oil Pollution Act of 1990

gulf oil birds oily wing

The Oil Pollution Act(OPA) of 1990 was passed into law by Congress in the United States in response to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. The OPA was enacted to prevent further oil spills from occurring and states that companies must have a plan to prevent spills and also have a detailed containment and cleanup plan for oil spills when they do occur.

The OPA streamlined and strengthened the EPA’s ability to prevent and respond to catastrophic oil spills. A trust fund to clean up oil spills was established and funded by a tax on oil. The trust fund is available if the responsible party is incapable or unwilling to do the cleanup.

The OPA requires oil storage facilities and vessels to submit plans to the Federal government detailing how they will respond to large discharges. The EPA is responsible for regulations for above ground storage facilities and the Coast Guard is responsible for regulations for oil tankers. In order to prepare for oil spills on a regional scale, the OPA also requires the development of Area Contingency Plans.

The Oil Spill is on the Move

Previous reports put the flow of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico at 42,000 gallons per day, but now those numbers have been revised up to about five times the original estimate. Government officials now say that the blown-out well offshore is gushing about 5,000 barrels per day. At 40 gallons per barrel, that's about 200,000 gallons per day.

So far, the incident has not eclipsed the worst oil spill in U.S. history, the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. That oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska, involved 11 million gallons of oil. But only a single tanker was involved in that instance. The Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 could well surpass the Exxon Valdez disaster of 1989 because deposits in the Gulf of Mexico hold much more oil than one single tanker can hold.

gulf oil birds overhead

Contact an Environmental Lawyer

If you have a property damage or income claim regarding the BP, Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil rig spill in the Gulf of Mexico that caused pollution and economic destruction in the Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama and Gulf coast states, please contact us. Our environment, property & income damage lawyers have over 50 years experience representing the marine, fishermen, shrimpers and oyster industries. Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P. were one of the first Maritime law firms first contacted to file a lawsuit against British Petroleum, BP and Transocean on behalf of a missing Deepwater Horizon oil rig worker. For a FREE consultation concerning rights and property damage claims, call 800-773-6770

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