Shrimp Processors Object to BP Oil Spill Pact

April 24, 2012

Shrimp processors have asked a federal judge to delay preliminary approval of BP Plc’s proposed settlement of economic damage claims from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, arguing that it is unfair to parts of the shrimp industry.

The American Shrimp Processors Association said the accord, which calls for BP to pay $2.3 billion in seafood claims, favors shrimp harvesters and boat captains at the expense of shrimp docks, processors and others it represents.

In a filing with the federal court in New Orleans, the group said the agreement should be revised so all “key segments of the shrimp industry” receive comparable treatment given they share “virtually identical” future economic risks.

At a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier is due to begin considering preliminary approval of BP’s settlements last month to resolve economic, property and medical claims by more than 125,000 private plaintiffs for an estimated $7.8 billion.

The settlements put on indefinite hold a scheduled trial over billions of dollars of additional claims by or between the U.S. government, Gulf Coast states and BP’s drilling partners.

Barbier said on Monday that he would consider at a May 3 conference with lawyers BP’s request to delay any trial until after the settlement of economic and property claims wins final approval.

The April 20, 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 workers and triggered the largest U.S. offshore oil spill. BP owned a majority of the ruptured Macondo oil well.

The case is In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, No. 10-md-02179.

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