Editorial: ‘Diggin in’ at BP — Company warns that compensation well is running dry
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Aug 02, 2013 | 2601 views |  0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Word comes from Great Britain (via The Guardian) that the $20 billion fund that BP set aside to compensate Gulf Coast individuals and businesses for losses resulting from the 2010 deepwater Horizon disaster is nearly exhausted. Only about $300 million remains and if that does not cover the compensation claims that are pending the money will have to come from company income.

Although many who feel, with some justification, that BP is getting off easy, it is obvious that the oil giant expected to get off a great deal easier.

Already the bill for clean-up, fines and compensation has exceeded $42.4 billion and it could ultimately be significantly higher.

As a result, BP’s chief executive, Bob Dudley, announced that the company is going to be more aggressive in challenging claims made by farms and businesses that are located “far away from the coast.”

His warning was blunt: “As we continue to fight these absurd outcomes, and as the likelihood of extended litigation on other matters increases as a result, we want everyone to know that we are digging in and are well-prepared for the long haul in legal matters.”

It seems to be as much a challenge to plaintiff attorneys as to those who might be filing claims. Three years have passed since the blowout and in that time most of the easily justified claims have been made, processed and paid. However, thanks to attorney advertising around the region, people who never thought they might have a claim are getting themselves a lawyer and sending their application in.

They have every right to do so and some surely deserve compensation.

It is hard to feel sorry for BP. Although the company’s profit last quarter was below expectations, due to a decline in oil prices, a stronger dollar, and low income from Russian investments, it still brought in $2.7 billion. So it follows that BP has the resources to stay in court a long time, longer than the plaintiffs and their attorneys.

On the other hand, if there are unjustified claims, BP has every right to challenge them.

Meanwhile, BP and any other companies that are looking for oil in the Gulf should heed the lesson here.

Drill with the utmost care, for if you do not, the cost will be high for you, as well as for the Gulf Coast.
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