Alleged Environmental Contamination Leads to Class Action Suits
BP is facing hundreds of lawsuits in connection with the Deepwater Horizon explosion and the resulting oil spill. The various lawsuits deal with issues including loss of tourism revenue, falling stock prices, lost income and many more. One such suit is a proposed class action filed by fishermen, shrimpers and oystermen alleging that BP’s clean-up attempts are actually making the environmental contamination worse.
The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in mid June and seeks to certify a class of people impacted by the oil spill. The potential class could include Gulf Coast residents whose livelihood has been threatened or ruined due to the environmental damage caused by the spill.
The complaint specifically alleges BP has sprayed more than one million gallons of the chemical dispersant, Corexit 9500, into the Gulf, thereby damaging the marine food chain and the seabed upon which the plaintiffs rely to earn a living. The suit also names the manufacturer of the dispersant, Nalco Co., as another defendant.
The plaintiffs claim the Corexit 9500 is four times more toxic than the oil itself and causes the oil to break up and sink where it contaminates the seabed and kills off more marine life. Furthermore, a better alternative would have been to let the oil reach the coastline where it could have been cleaned up and removed. Instead, they argue, BP used the Nalco product to disperse the oil because it would lessen the public outrage resulting from oil-covered shorelines.
Nalco has maintained that their product is safe and that testing has not shown any detrimental effect on marine life in the Gulf.
The case will likely to become part of a larger multi-district litigation that would centralize the various lawsuits and attempt to make them more streamlined.
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