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BP faces Mexican class action lawsuit over Deepwater Horizon oil spill

23 December 2015
  • Oil giant faces potentially huge compensation bill for environmental damage
  • BP paid $20.8bn settlement in US but so far nothing in Mexico for Gulf oil spill

US fire boat crews battle the blazing remnants of the BP-operated offshore oil rig, Deepwater Horizon, in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.US fire boat crews battle the blazing remnants of the BP-operated offshore oil rig, Deepwater Horizon, in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

BP is facing another potentially huge compensation bill from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill after a class action law suit was launched in Mexico for the environmental catastrophe caused in its territory by the fatal disaster.

The company recently agreed a final settlement of $20.8bn with US authorities over the damage caused by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The settlement – the biggest pollution penalty in US history – was reached after a federal court found the company guilty of gross negligence.

BP now faces calls to pay for the clean-up in Mexican waters and compensate for the irreparable damage caused to marine life by the oil itself, and the toxic dispersant chemical subsequently used to solidify and sink the oil droplets.

BP is facing another potentially huge compensation bill from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill after a class action law suit was launched in Mexico for the environmental catastrophe caused in its territory by the fatal disaster.

The company recently agreed a final settlement of $20.8bn with US authorities over the damage caused by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The settlement – the biggest pollution penalty in US history – was reached after a federal court found the company guilty of gross negligence.

BP now faces calls to pay for the clean-up in Mexican waters and compensate for the irreparable damage caused to marine life by the oil itself, and the toxic dispersant chemical subsequently used to solidify and sink the oil droplets.

Unlike in the US, class actions in Mexico are rare and not widely known about, as they were only introduced as a legal remedy in 2010.

The law permits class actions to be brought by NGOs in cases of serious rights violations, such as in environmental disasters.

“BP has accepted it is responsible and is paying for the damage in the US. The damage is ongoing here,” Luis Manuel Pérez de Acha, a lawyer bringing the case told the Guardian.

“The federal prosecutors could have and should have brought this case. We are only bringing it because they didn’t. Perhaps they don’t have confidence in class actions because we are still in the process of constructing case law in this area.”

Numerous US scientific studies into the impacts of the disaster have found widespread and catastrophic damage to plant and animal species in all parts of the food chain across the affected zones.

This body of evidence will be used by the federal judge to determine the merit of the claim.

The petition asks for the federal prosecutor’s office for the protection of the environment (Profepa) to release its unpublished studies to the court, and for expert witnesses to be called in order to determine the extent and value of the damage in Mexican territory.

If successful, the settlement would be managed by a special body of the country’s supreme court.

Lawyers say the case should be resolved by the end of 2016.

 

Article Source: The Guardian

Posted in: News