Louisiana Coastal Parishes Sue BP Over Oil Spill

May 20, 2010

Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, District Attorney Joe Waitz has filed suit against oil giant BP, seeking money for wildlife killed or hurt by the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

The lawsuit, filed May 17, is among the first of many expected to be filed by prosecutors in the state’s coastal parishes. St. Tammany Parish’s district attorney also has sued the company. Lafourche Parish prosecutors were scheduled to meet May 19 to determine if they will file a similar lawsuit.

Each lawsuit will be handled within its own parish. Sixty percent of awarded money – if any – would go to the State Conservation Fund. The rest would go the district attorney’s office.

Don Carmouche, a Gonzales attorney who is a part of a team of lawyers handling the Terrebonne suit, said significant impact from the oil spill to Terrebonne and other parishes along the coast is certain.

“It’s real,” he said. “It’s going to be horrible, ultimately, for the state.”

Rig operator BP PLC estimates that the blown-out well has leaked more than 5 million gallons.

To date, environmental damage in the Terrebonne area hasn’t been as great as initially feared following the April 20 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion that killed 11 workers. Rig operator BP PLC estimates that the blown-out well has leaked more than 5 million gallons, sending tar balls onto barrier islands and impacting commercial and recreational fishing.

“We are not likely to know the extent of the damages to our people, our wildlife and aquatic life for some time,” Waitz said in a written statement. “We will not wait until the extent of the damage is known because we want all to be put on notice that dead or suffering wildlife and aquatic life are evidence and should not be destroyed.”

Information from: The Courier, http://www.houmatoday.com

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