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KPFK Uprising Radio on Nation cover article.

by Sonali KolhatkarKPFK Uprising Radio
April 20th, 2012

Two Years After BP Disaster The Quest for Justice Continues

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Today is the second anniversary of the worst environmental disaster in US history. Coming just before Earth Day, on April 20, 2010, The British based company, BP’s, Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig off the coast of Louisiana exploded killing 11 workers and injuring 17 others. Spilling almost 185 million gallons of oil over the course of 86 days, the explosion of the rig caused a leak one mile below the surface of the ocean. In the course of its cleanup efforts, BP chose to use nearly two million gallons of a controversial dispersant called Corexit. It wasn’t until September 19th, 2010, that the government declared the well “effectively dead.”

Now, just a couple of days before the 2nd anniversary of the BP disaster, the company announced it had reached a $7.8 billion settlement of a class action lawsuit representing thousands of businesses and individuals impacted. A Federal judge will have to finalize the settlement and has announced plans to hold a “fairness hearing” before signing off on it. The case against BP was not allowed to go to trial. However, it is possible that unresolved claims by the government and states against BP, and claims against the other companies involved, Halliburton and Transocean, may proceed this May.

The environmental and health impacts of the BP spill are far reaching and may not come to light for many years yet. However, scientists are deeply concerned about unusual health effects seen in fish and other marine life in the Gulf Coast, and doctors are monitoring a wide range of neurological and physiological effects seen in residents all along the Gulf Coast.

GUEST: Antonia Juhasz is covering the historic trial against BP for The Nation with support from The Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute. She is a leading oil and energy analyst and author of several books, including Black Tide: the Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill. Juhasz wrote the cover article of this month’s Progressive Magazine on the BP spill.