He said that he expected to have the Deepwater Horizon explosion and the oil spill behind them by now, but blames the British oil giant’s troubles on fraudulent claims and our country’s class-action culture trial attorneys that he described as “ambulance chasing, the patent trolls.”
Dudley, a native of Hattisburg, Miss., made his comments in an interview with Bloomberg’s Businessweek.
The BP CEO told the magazine that the Gulf Coast has recovered. “…if you travel from the panhandle of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, the beaches are clean, the tourism is good, the fishing is good,” Dudley said. “The Gulf has bounced back really well. And I’d like to think that we played a big role.”
Clearly BP is trying to cut off the settlement process, and Dudley wants to turn the rest of the country against our region.
Fortunately, the federal court system isn’t placing much credence in BP’s allegations of fraud or its attacks on the attorneys representing those businesses failing claims. At the first of this week, BP submitted court papers suggesting new evidence of fraud and conflicts hoping to suspend the claim settlements.
On Wednesday, a federal judge in New Orleans ruled that BP must pay $130 million to a court-appointed administrator so that he continue making payments to thousands of people with outstanding claims.
Dudley didn’t talk about the 11 men who died in the Deepwater Horizon explosion or the 15 people who died in 2005 in the explosion at its Texas City Refinery. He didn’t mention the nearly $5 billion in fines and penalties that his company has paid in this country since 1999.
He didn’t mention the health studies on spill clean-up workers and Gulf Coast residents.
A study initiated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found biomarkers matching the oil from the spill in the bodies of cleanup workers Other studies have reported a variety of mental health issues, skin problems, breathing issues, coughing, and headaches.
In 2013, during the three-day “Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference findings discussed included a ‘”significant percentage” of Gulf residents reporting mental health problems like anxiety, depression and PTSD.
Another study that investigated the health effects among children in Louisiana and Florida living less than 10 miles from the coast found that more than a third of the parents reported physical or mental health symptoms among their children. The parents reported “unexplained symptoms among their children, including bleeding ears, nose bleeds, and the early start of menstruation among girls.”
The environmental damage to the Gulf of Mexico will take years to assess. This week Ocean Alliance and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, who has collected tissue samples from Gulf sperm whales to study the effects of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster for the past four years, announced in Pensacola that preliminary analysis of samples taken from sperm whales in the Gulf of Mexico indicate higher levels of chromium and nickel than in sperm whales anywhere else in the world.
During a January 2013 flyover, former NASA physicist Bonny Schumaker noted a “dearth of marine life” in a radius 30 to 50 miles around the well. Tar balls are still washing ashore.
Like his predecessor, Tony Hayward, Dudley wants to get back to his life and, more importantly, prop up BP’s stock prices and get his stockholders off his back.
Not yet, Dudley.