Florida Sues BP Three Years After Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

On the third anniversary of the BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast, the state of Florida has filed a lawsuit against the oil company and cement contractor Halliburton.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill infected a 1,100 mile swath of area along beaches and marshlands. The spill, according to Florida officials, led to a massive decline in the number of summer tourists.

Florida is now the fourth state to file a lawsuit against BP and Halliburton.

In the lawsuit, Florida officials claim negligence over BP’s failure to change the batteries on the rig’s blowout preventer. Halliburton is blamed with installing faulty cement barriers that should have protected against increases in oil pressure. In the lawsuit, Florida’s attorneys write:

“BP knew or should have known that the manufacturer recommended replacement of the batteries in the battery packs at least once per year,” the suit said. Divers later couldn’t manually turn it on either. The suit also blames BP for installing a defective valve on the same blowout preventer.

The lawsuit has been filed in US District Court in Panama City. That particular federal court makes decisions regarding the 1990 Oil Pollution Act.

The explosion and subsequent spill left 11 rig workers dead. Florida filed its lawsuit on the third anniversary of the tragedy. Mississippi filed a similar lawsuit on Friday. Both Louisiana and Alabama had already filed lawsuits of their own.

During the third anniversary of the BP oil spill, the company’s BP America Chairman and President John MingĂ© said:

“On the third anniversary of the tragic accident in the Gulf of Mexico, our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of our 11 colleagues who died and those injured.”

In seeking damages, Florida notes that nearly 85 million people visit the state each year, generating $80 billion for businesses. The state argues that much of that money was lost in sales taxes, cigarette surcharges, and the sale of beer, wine, and liquor.

In the complaint, attorneys write: “Without this level of tourism, Florida suffers, as do many of the local people and communities who are supported by it.” The complaint also states that BP “publicly acknowledged that it would cover or otherwise make funds available for damages … as a result of the spill.”

Do you think BP should honor its promise and pay back the loss of funds suffered by Florida’s business owners?

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