The White House announced yesterday that it was raising the caps of liable damages that British Petroleum (BP) will be responsible in the wake of the BP Oil Leak in the Gulf of Mexico. After the 1989 incident of the Exxon Valdez, legislation was passed to hold oil companies responsible for the damage and clean up costs, but the legislation capped the liability of those companies at 75 million dollars unless the responsible company was guilty of “gross negligence”. An AFP wire report describes the steps BP has already taken:
BP has already offered cash grants of 25 million dollars for US states facing costly cleanup efforts and said that it will “absolutely” live up to its responsibilities to pay for the clean-up operation.
It has also said it will honor all “legitimate” claims stemming from the slick, which is threatening precious fishing grounds, wildlife habitats and beaches along the southern US coast.
Preliminary reports from Washington D.C. indicate that the White House is in favor of lifting the cap from the current 75 million dollars to a new high of 10 billion dollars. With the BP Oil Leak still gushing oil into the water (it currently has leaked over 4 million gallons of oil as of 5/12/10), it remains too soon to accurately predict what the total cost of this ecological mishap will be. At Perenich The Law Firm, we will continue to keep you updated on these events that could impact our home here in Clearwater as well as the Pinellas beaches and the greater Tampa Bay area, and we will also serve you if this event begins to affect your health and well-being.