The April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig triggered the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. Nearly 5 million barrels of oil gushed in the Gulf of Mexico over the course of 87 days.
As a result of the explosion and spill, 11 workers were killed and 16 more were seriously injured; Gulf Coast states have sustained approximately $40 billion in economic losses; a reported $10 billion in additional health cost will be required to manage health problems in the wake of the BP oil disaster; thousands of birds, sea turtles, marine mammals and other aquatic life have been harmed or killed; and the environment has sustained incalculable damage.
Two years later, the government and BP are reportedly on the brink of reaching a settlement that would resolve all civil and criminal damages and liabilities arising from the spill.
A settlement with BP must allow for full recovery of the Gulf Coast region and its communities. It also must deter other companies from putting profits before safety.
We, the undersigned, call on the government to reach an equitable and comprehensive settlement with BP by applying the following terms:
The settlement should include criminal penalties for the company.
The settlement should not include the resolution of criminal penalties for individuals, including for their roles in the Deepwater oil rig explosion that resulted in the deaths of 11 men.
A settlement must place financial responsibility on BP for future environmental and economic costs for the problems that we’re still in the process of discovering. The costs to the environment from the release of more than 5 million barrels of oil and hundreds of thousands of gallons of chemical disbursement may not be known for another generation.
Permanent sanctions must be part of the settlement. For example, the government should restrict BP’s access to future and current government oil and gas leases, and bar it from federal contracts for good.
All BP documents related to the disaster must be made publicly available and accessible.
The settlement should include penalties called for by the full spectrum of laws that exist to protect our environment, wildlife and workers. Damages associated with Clean Water Act violations alone have been estimated at $21 billion. Other laws that must be accounted for include the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.