USA: Oil companies have not yet been held accountable for environmental damage from spills in Louisiana
Author: Joan Meiners, The Times-Picayune & The Advocate, Published on: 2 January 2020
"How Oil Companies Avoided Environmental Accountability After 10.8 Million Gallons Spilled," 27 December 2019
[After hurricanes Katrina and Rita] The U.S. Coast Guard, the first responder for oil spills, received 540 separate reports of spills into Louisiana waters... Fourteen years later, not one assessment [as prescribed under the Oil Pollution Act]... of the damage to natural resources after the two 2005 hurricanes has been completed. None of the 140 parties thought to be responsible for the spills has been fined or cited for environmental violations... By failing to hold anyone accountable for the spills, Louisiana is likely leaving on the table hundreds of millions of dollars in environmental remediation money... Stephanie Morris, a lawyer [for the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office]... [says] it will be difficult to fine responsible parties or otherwise hold them accountable for damages caused 14 years ago. “The [oil companies] always fight with us,” Morris said. “Their position with us is always: ‘Louisiana has a lot of spills. You have a degrading coast. Are you trying to say these injuries are from my little spill?’”
In 2009, a class-action lawsuit against Murphy Oil Corp. ended in a settlement requiring the company to pay $330 million to 6,200 claimants... Murphy Oil officials did not return several voicemail messages seeking comment... Environmental activists worry that the failure to hold anyone accountable for the 2005 spills sends the wrong message. “To the extent that fines are supposed to be disincentives for behavior, it’s a failure of the system,” [said] Cochran [Environmental Defense Fund].