According to an AP report, BP yesterday admitted that more oil than it originally estimated is leaking into the Gulf. This news, coming roughly one month after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank, is heightening Gulf Coast residents’ worries about the amount of damage likely to occur. A spokesman for BP, Mark Proegler, said that efforts over the weekend to insert a tube into the leaking pipe were successful, and that the tube is now siphoning off 210,000 gallons of oil per day. That figure is more than the total amount of oil BP and the U.S. Coast Guard originally estimated was leaking from the well, and it is clear that the tube is not capturing all the escaping oil. Mr. Proegler declined to estimate how much oil is still spewing into the Gulf, but some scientists who have viewed the underwater videos of the leak have suggested it could be as much as ten times the official estimate.
Meanwhile, crude oil began washing into the marshes on the state’s southeastern tip and the Breton National Wildlife Refuge, where scientists believe oil has killed some rare birds that reside there. “This is the heavy oil that everyone’s been fearing that is here now,” Gov. Bobby Jindal said during a boat tour of the wetlands. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as of May 17, 29 miles of Louisiana’s coastline had already seen oil.
Adding to concerns over BP’s handling of the disaster are reports of the company’s efforts to limit the public’s view of fouled beaches in Louisiana. CBS news reports when journalists attempted on Tuesday to visit an oil-covered beach in South Pass, they were turned away by BP contractors and two U.S. Coast Guard officers aboard a boat. The officers threatened to arrest the reporters, even though the government had not closed the beach to the public. The reporters captured video of one of the officers saying, “This is [sic] BP’s rules, not ours.”
According to the Times-Picayune, other beach areas impacted by the oil sludge include Trinity Island, Whiskey Island, the Chandeleur Islands, Fourchon Beach, Raccoon Island, and Grand Isle.
Finally, in an effort to help those looking to make claims against BP, Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu initiated the process of making funds available for the assistance of filers. The legislation, which would authorize $20 million in EDA grants to help businesses and individuals prepare claims with BP over the Deepwater Horizon spill, also provides funding for the establishment of an oversight panel. This advisory board would, in conjunction with technical experts, monitor the claims process.
In a press release the Senator placed online, the Louisiana politician noted
“Filing claims can be an extremely technical and complicated process,” Sen. Landrieu said. “This legislation would help ensure our fishermen, shrimpers, oystermen and other businesses can cut through red tape and file accurate claims. The transparency and oversight created by this bill is an important step in fairly and fully compensating Gulf Coast businesses for their losses from this unprecedented disaster.”
Please return to this blog often for further updates.
If you experience any damages or incur any costs related to the Deepwater Horizon incident, call the Berniard Law Firm at 504-527-6225 or toll-free at 1-866-574-8005 today to speak with an attorney who can help you obtain compensation.