BP must be held to Gulf promises
The company insists everything in the Gulf of Mexico is just fine, scarcely a year after its Deepwater Horizon rig off Louisiana exploded, killing 11 workers and spewing 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf over three months.
It is an absurd claim and should be summarily dismissed by Kenneth Feinberg, the attorney assigned by the federal government to administer claims filed by parties who say they were harmed by the spill.
Louisiana’s fishing industry and the Florida Panhandle’s hotels were hard-hit, and the extent of economic and environmental damage is still being determined. Many businesses report continuing effects, including the reluctance by some consumers to buy Gulf seafood.
There is no question the Gulf is in far better shape than it was a year ago.
But fishermen report things don’t seem right in the Gulf. University of South Florida researchers are working with commercial fishermen to determine the cause of lesions and “fin rot” in fish that may be occurring more frequently than usual.
Miles of coastal marshland appear distressed, and the growth of marine vegetation, including seaweed, has slowed in certain areas.
There are reports of deformed tiny organisms. Nobody knows how many fish, shrimp, turtles, birds, dolphins and other creatures were killed.
The long-term impact of all this on Gulf-dependent industries is impossible to determine. For BP to act as if the Gulf is as healthy as ever and the company has no more obligations is ridiculous.
As its latest bid to block the claims of individuals harmed by the spill underscores, BP is going to do what it can to limit its exposure.
Far more research is needed before BP should be able to slam the door on claimants. Florida leaders should fight this ruse and hold the corporation accountable for the pain, misery and financial loss it has caused the state’s residents.