May 18 Texas has joined the crowd of Gulf of
Mexico states to file suit against BP Plc, Halliburton Co
and others for their role in one of the worst oil spills
in U.S. history.
The complaint, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in
Beaumont, Texas, alleges that the companies and others "engaged
in willful and wanton misconduct" for their role in the 2010
Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The state has accused the firms - as well as Transocean
, Anadarko and BP America in its suit - of
violating Texas' environmental regulations. Texas is seeking
money from "lost" tourism revenues due to the spill, as well as
monies that would have been generated from state park entrance
and concession fees by visitors to the coastal communities.
In addition, the state is seeking civil penalties for each
day the oil spilled into the Gulf, and each barrel spilled into
the water, as compensation for natural resources that were
"injured, destroyed or lost."
An estimated 4.9 million barrels were spilled, but BP has
argued that 800,000 barrels that were recovered should be
excluded from calculations for the purposes of any legal
Texas joins four other states that have sued BP and other
companies in connection to the spill: Florida and Mississippi
filed complaints last month, while Alabama and Louisiana did in
In April of 2010, a surge of methane gas known to rig hands
as a "kick" sparked an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon
rig that killed 11 people. The vessel sank two days later.
London-based BP was the majority owner and operator of the
Macondo well and Swiss-based Transocean Ltd owned the rig, which
was drilling the mile(1.6 km)-deep well in the Gulf of Mexico
off Louisiana's coast.
BP also is fighting a court battle in New Orleans over fines
and other potential spill liabilities, but it struck a deal last
year with a wide range of compensation claimants, including
The total amount was not set, and BP has set aside over $8
billion to make the payments, but it now sees those business
economic loss (BEL) payments escalating, and is challenging the
way they are being calculated - calling some of the claims
"fictitious" and "absurd."
It has already lost one appeal to have the payments stopped
and now plans to go to a higher court.
Texas' lawsuit is State of Texas v. BP Exploration &
Production Inc., 13-cv-00315, U.S. District Court, Eastern
District of Texas.