State Sues BP for Oil Spill Damage

State governments are finally taking action to address the catastrophic damage caused by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The Office of the Attorney General of Alabama has filed before a U.S. District Court a complaint against British Petroleum for what it describes as the largest marine oil disaster in the history of the United States.

The state of Alabama also sued co-defendant companies Transocean Ltd., Halliburton Energy Services, Inc., Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Mitsui & Co., and Cameron International Corp. All defendants, the complaint states, "negligently and wantonly failed to take appropriate measures to prevent damages [to the State]." As a result, Alabama is enduring damages to its natural and environmental resources, including the loss of use of state property, taxes, revenues, and other income; which in turn has also incurred damages associated with oil disaster response actions.

The lawsuit has received bi-partisan support in the state, including the two contenders for the gubernatorial post.

In addition to this lawsuit, BP has received 142, 400 claims representing all 50 U.S. States. The claims represent the havoc created upon communities and businesses that we discussed in a previous Dispatch. For instance, in a state that heavily relies on tourism like Florida, hotel operators say visitors are deciding not to travel to the state under the impression that the beaches are tarred by oil. It is evident that states will have to look into various ways to ensure that these corporations are held liable for their grossly negligent actions and that every resident gets compensated for the losses they have and will continue to bear.