Lawsuits are mounting on behalf of the environment and communities around the gulf coast. One Lawsuit has been filed by the Sierra Club and Gulf Restoration Network against the U. S. Interior Department and Minerals Management Service (MMS) over permits. According to the suit, the agency gave BP and other oil companies illegal waivers. The suit states, “Had MMS not waived the regulatory requirements, had BP done a proper Blowout Scenario and Worst Case Oil Spill Response analysis, theses critical planning flaws may have been avoided.” And in other related news, it turns out that BP cut corners on safety in order to save money. According to the Wall Street Journal, as of 2003, U.S. regulators decided that remote-controlled safeguards, known as acoustical valves, needed more study; and a report commissioned by the MMS said “acoustic systems are not recommended because they tend to very costly.”
Needless to say, the spill is destroying wetlands and delicate ecosystems around the gulf and poisoning life in the ocean. And the spill poses long term health concerns for the safety of communities around the gulf. The toxins can persist for years in the food chain, as oil contains traces of heavy metal such as mercury, arsenic and lead, all of which raise the risk of cancer and neurological problems. Several restaurants from Louisiana and Florida have decided to take proactive steps toward recovery by filing a class action lawsuit against BP, whom they see as the responsible party, according to the Oil Pollution Act. The class action, dated, May 18, was filed on behalf of several plaintiffs who are restaurant owners and others in the seafood service industry who have or will suffer lost profits as a result of the spill. The action states that due to the dangerous environmental contamination as a result of the oil leak, “fishing, shrimping, oystering and other commercial activities have been suspended and will likely continue to be legally and/or effectively reduced,” thereby causing a loss of revenue and earning capacity for the industry.
Here at the Brod Law Firm, we believe unchecked development over the past century has put us in this devastating situation. Up until now, coastal erosion, land loss and vulnerability to hurricanes and flooding have been the end result of wreckless pillaging of the earth and sea for oil. But now, as the oil continues to gush–at a possible rate of 1million gallons a day–we wonder how long before the spill and/or byproducts of the it will show up other places around the globe, or perhaps, here in San Francisco, and ultimately place all of us in peril.