WASHINGTON – Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation, released the following statement in response to reports that British Petroleum (BP) had ended its internal oil spill claims program for more than 10,000 Gulf Coast residents who were impacted by the 2010 Deep Water Horizon oil spill:
“BP has effectively shut down recourse for more than 10,000 people who suffered as a result of the oil company’s negligence and incompetence leading up to and during the 2010 Deep Water Horizon oil disaster,” said Rep. Grijalva. “These are people whose lives and livlihoods were completely upended by an oil company willing to minimize safety compliance in order to maximize profits. They made their money, and they cause a catastrophe in the process. Now they’re taking steps to ensure their precious profits filter down to as few of their victims as possible. This is what happens when your business model is pure greed, and it is utterly shameful.”
On March 13, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lifted its ban on BP’s drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. According to the New York Times, less than one week later on March 19th, BP bid on and won 24 new contacts for $42 million.
“The part that really adds insult to injury is that BP just received the green light to start drilling again,” Grijalva continued. “And what’s their next move after the door is open for them to profit off of us again? They turn around and leave many of their victims high and dry with no means of recouping the losses.
“These claimants deserve better than to be shortchanged and then dropped flat. BP must reinstate their internal claims program immediately, and maintain it until they can clearly demonstrate that all those harmed by their actions have been properly compensated.”
The internal oil spill claims program served claimants who opted out of BP’s court-supervised settlement program. These individuals either weren’t covered under the terms of the settlement or felt that the arranged settlement did not provide adequate compensation.