UPDATE: A BP oil spill settlement has been reached. The agreement holds BP fully accountable to both businesses and individuals who were affected by the oil spill. Businesses will be compensated for lost profits, property damage, property sales losses, and lost subsistence use. Individuals with related medical claims are also covered, and are provided periodic medical consultations for 21 years after the settlement.
On April 20, the Deepwater Horizon, a drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, caught fire and sank two days later, claiming at least eleven lives. The ripple effects of the oil rig explosion are spreading, as crude oil continues to spill into the Gulf of Mexico, potentially affecting thousands of workers and businesses along the coast. Commercial fishing, tourism and other industries are expected to suffer great economic losses due to the oil rig explosion.
Our firm’s own Mike Espy was one of 15 attorneys elected to serve on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee to handle litigation during this lawsuit.
Industries Affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
The Deepwater Horizon explosion has the potential to affect many industries and businesses along the U.S. Gulf Coast, as the oil slick nears the shore at a rate of approximately 1,000 barrels per day. According to officials, the oil spill may take up to four weeks to control, presenting a devastating economic impact to those running businesses along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Commercial Fishing: Oil spills have the potential to affect nearby ecosystems for years. Commercial fishing companies along the Gulf Coast could experience serious economic consequences if the oil spill continues to kill or contaminate fish and other sea life. The toxicity of the oil can interrupt the natural oceanic food chain on which fish depend, and it may affect their ability to procreate. Should this occur, it may take years for the commercial fishing industry to recover.
Louisiana alone generates $2.4 billion in business revenue every year from the commercial fishing industry. The state has also opened sections of the Gulf waters to shrimp fishing, an industry which makes $117 million every year. If the Deepwater Horizon oil spill continues to spread, any contaminated shrimping areas will have to be closed. The oil spill can also impact fish, blue crab and oyster harvesting if it reaches Louisiana.
Tourism: The Gulf of Mexico oil spill also has the potential to affect tourism. The Delta National Wildlife Refuge, a safe house for brown pelicans, alligators and other animals, is already being threatened by the oil spill. Additionally, beaches along the Gulf Coast, which attract millions of tourists every year, may need to be shut down for cleanup. As a result, hotels, restaurants and tourist spots are expected to suffer huge economic losses.
Energy Industries: Because the oil spill presents a fire hazard, the Ocean Endeavor, an oil rig located near the Deepwater Horizon, was evacuated. Workers on the Ocean Endeavor are expected to suffer a loss of wages if the offshore rig is not reopened; these employees, along with anyone similarly affected, may be entitled to financial damages for these losses.