Mississippi Government Sues BP Over 2010 Oil Spill
At the end of last month, the state governments in Florida and Mississippi took the important step of suing BP over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. This officially includes the two states among those seeking damages from the oil company over the massive oil spill.
Both Florida and Mississippi announced their decision before the three-year deadline for filing such claims rolled around. The accident originally took place on April 20, 2010, meaning that April 20th was the last date to file suit.
Florida’s Attorney General, Pam Bondi, announced that given the considerable
damage suffered by the state after the oil spill, both BP and its subcontractor,
Halliburton, should be held financially accountable. Bondi said the state
would try to recover money it says it lost due to a drop in tourism that
occurred as a result of the oil spill. Florida’s filing accused
BP and Halliburton of wanton, reckless and grossly negligent conduct and
says that, as a result, the state will be seeking punitive damages due
to the companies’ egregious conduct.
Mississippi also said that it would be suing BP, Halliburton, Transocean and Anadarko Petroleum, a minority shareholder in the oil project. Jim Hood, Mississippi’s attorney general, said that he decided to sue BP after the company failed to reach agreeable settlement terms. Hood said BP also failed to grant an extension of the deadline for filing claims and that, as a result, Mississippi was forced to move forward and sue the oil company.
The attorney general said that he hopes to pursue BP in Mississippi’s state courts as well as in the federal court system. He says claims by other states have languished in the federal courts and that Mississippi is entitled to litigate its claims in Mississippi state courts to ensure that its citizens get justice quickly.
BP recently released an estimate that says claims by state and local governments for economic damages will end up costing the company more than $34 billion. The whopping damage payments are on top of the costs it must pay to clean up the oil, money it will spend to repair environmental damages and the sizable amount reserved for claims from individuals and businesses.
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