On Thursday, a federal judge in New Orleans found that the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster—in which the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing 11 people and spilling millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf—was caused by BP's "willful misconduct" and "gross negligence."
Tesvich says he's seen a drastic decline in his company's oyster production since then—company profits down 15 to 20 percent and oyster yields slashed by 30 percent. He says he's suspicious that this new decision will force the kind of action from local politicians needed to clean up the Gulf once-and-for-all. The politicians in Louisiana, he says, "haven't been the best environmental stewards."
BP's own reaction to the news has been fast and pointed. "BP strongly disagrees with the decision," the company said in a statement on Thursday, published to its website. "BP believes that an impartial view of the record does not support the erroneous conclusion reached by the District Court."
The company said it would immediately appeal the decision.
Oh boy here we go. What are they basing the appeal on? Suppressed evidence? Faulty testimony? Did Sal Perricone ever comment on anything related to this?
No, it turns out the whole thing was spoiled by "environmentalists and journalists."
With the fourth anniversary of the busted well's final sealing coming up in a couple weeks, BP has been pushing back aggressively against the company's critics. On Wednesday night—just hours before the court's ruling—Geoff Morrell, the company's vice president of US communications, spoke in New Orleans at the Society of Environmental Journalists conference, and blamed the media and activists for BP's rough ride.Having followed the trial fairly closely, I really have no idea how "sloppy environmental journalists" could have much to do with the evidence that was given. But whatever. BP believes they are pretty much done paying for anything at this point. Who knows how long the appeals process for this could last.
The company's efforts to clean up the spill have been obscured, he said, by the ill-intentioned efforts of "opportunistic" environmentalists, shoddy science, and the sloppy work of environmental journalists (much to the chagrin of his audience, hundreds of environmental journalists).
Remember, Exxon spent 20 years in court arguing against their penalty from the Valdez incident. But it turned out to be well worth it for them. As everyone in Louisiana should know by now, 20 years would be a long time to wait this out. Even if BP fared worse on appeal than Exxon, it might be too late for the award to make any difference to us.