BP has reached a settlement with private plaintiffs in the Gulf oil spill litigation, agreeing to pay an estimated $7.8 billion, with $2.3 billion going specifically to claims from the Gulf seafood industry.
BP oil spill moratorium claims are not, however, included in the settlement, and BP remains firm on its stance that it will not pay moratorium claims. Moratorium claims were filed by oilfield workers and oilfield services companies that suffered economic losses due to the federal government’s decision to impose a moratorium on offshore drilling for several months after the April 2010 BP oil spill.A deepwater moratorium was put in place after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. BP spokesperson Curtis Thomas said, when pushed by Kenneth Feinberg to pay 6,000 moratorium claims last November, that federal oil spill law “was not designed to remedy claims arising from the government’s decision to impose a temporary moratorium,” NOLA reported.
Some of the claimants have been categorized as moratorium claimants, when in fact, they were shallow-water Gulf workers, who were not affected by the moratorium but by the drop in activity in the Gulf. One New Orleans attorney said, “These are caterers, diving companies, fabricators, suppliers, people who do work in the shallow-water Gulf….It wasn’t because the government stopped issuing permits, these people didn’t require permits. It was because of a chill on activity in the Gulf that they couldn’t work, and that’s precisely who the Oil Pollution Act was supposed to help.”
Non-moratorium claimants will file a motion with the court asking U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier to consider their claims and give them a trial.