News / USA

Negotiators Trying to Settle BP Oil Spill Damages

This US Coast Guard image released on April 22, 2010 shows fire boat response crews as they battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon, 21 April 2010.
This US Coast Guard image released on April 22, 2010 shows fire boat response crews as they battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon, 21 April 2010.

Negotiators for the U.S. government and victims of the devastating 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are making a last-minute effort to resolve the massive damage case against the British oil giant.

A trial about who is responsible - and to what degree - for the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history is scheduled to start Monday in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is near where a BP oil rig exploded nearly two years ago, killing 11 workers and spewing almost five million barrels of oil into the waters off the southern U.S. coast over an 87-day period.   

BP and several companies that worked with it or shared ownership of the drilling operation could be liable for billions of dollars in damages. Already, more than 72 million pages of evidence have been collected in 536 lawsuits stemming from the disaster. Federal judge Carl Barbier is set to hear the collected cases in a trial could last into 2013.

The negotiators, however, are seeking to reach an agreement on the damages and end the need for a trial. The main defendants are BP, which had a 65 percent stake in the well; the Swiss company Transocean, which owned the rig, and U.S.-based Halliburton, which provided cement services for the drilling operation. They have sued each other as well.

BP has accepted responsibility for the disaster, and says its legal and cleanup costs could total $43 billion. But the company is also looking to shift some of the blame to other companies and has already reached settlements with some of them that played lesser roles in the explosion.

However, an overall settlement of the damages has proved elusive, in part because of the complexity in calculating the vast damages and assigning the appropriate share of blame. The U.S. government is looking to collect massive damages for violation of the country's environmental laws.

Thousands of individuals who live along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline and businesses that operate there are also seeking payouts. They say the seafood and tourist industries were severely damaged as the seeping oil spread across the waters in the three months before the well was capped.

Former BP chief executive Tony Hayward apologized for the accident in 2010, but angered many residents near the oil rig when he seemed just as concerned about the amount of time he was spending two summers ago on the clean-up effort.

"We're sorry for the massive disruption it has caused to their lives," he said.  "There's no one who wants this thing more over than I do. You know, I'd like my life back. So, there is no one who wants this thing done more than I do and we are doing everything we can.''

Whether the case is settled this weekend, or goes to trial, the expected damages are all but guaranteed to make it the most expensive environmental disaster in U.S. history, far surpassing the $1 billion Exxon paid for its Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill in 1989.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs