As we wrote in the BP section, despite admitting guilt, BP is trying to get out of the settlement agreement it made with Gulf State businesses and individuals. These people were harmed by BP’s gross negligence, and the settlement was devised and agreed upon to help compensate those injured by BP’s actions. It was a settlement that BP agreed to after months of negotiations.
However, BP’s actions shouldn’t be a surprise, because the oil giant is historically a bad corporate citizen. Let’s take a look at BP and who they really are. They were responsible for the explosion at their Texas City refinery killing innocent people; they are a convicted felon; they were on probation for three prior disasters at the time of the Gulf blowout; they have been suspended from doing business with the U.S. Government for lack of corporate integrity; they have pled guilty to 11 counts of manslaughter; and they lied to the Federal Government about the Gulf blowout.
If that were not enough, BP has the gall to tell Gulf citizens that it is trying to honor its commitment to the victims of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion, sinking and subsequent oil spill. This is really ironic, as it comes even as BP continues to dispute with the Court over the interpretation of the Business Economic Loss (BEL) calculation procedures – procedures BP helped develop and agreed upon.
In fact, BP has started a bought-and-paid-for “Publicity Campaign” and direct letter campaign threatening attorneys and claimants. This is simply a thinly veiled attempt to intimidate businesses and their attorneys who have properly filed and been paid according to the terms that BP agreed to under the Settlement Agreement.
It is important to remember, as much as BP would like you to forget, that in this historic Settlement Agreement, BP got predictability and eliminated uncertainty, while also giving oil spill victims economic aid when they needed it the most – now – not 10 years from now. In return, claimants walked away from the right to seek damages extending beyond 2010, and punitive damages.
How can BP now complain about oil-spill claims administrator Patrick Juneau and the Court agreeing with BP’s own description of how the Settlement was supposed to be applied to business claims? The answer is simple; the Settlement – which they agreed to at each and every level of the company – is costing them more than they anticipated. They have what we in Alabama call “buyer’s remorse” and they want out of a deal that they themselves signed and agreed to. No matter how you slice it, that is not responsible corporate conduct.
BP generates almost $400 billion a year. The company is crying “foul,” when BP is projected to pay only about three months of earnings to compensate the families and businesses for the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Governor Robert Bentley and Attorney General Luther Strange have worked diligently to protect the rights of all Alabama citizens. I can tell you firsthand that no one has worked harder to see that Alabama is treated fairly and compensated for this catastrophe than these two men. Attorney General Strange and one of his lawyers, Corey Maze, have spent countless hours working in Court in New Orleans to bring justice and fair compensation to the State of Alabama. Governor Bentley has made it clear, as he should, that Alabama should be compensated just as fairly as the other States, which include Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
Are each of those States attempting to get something for nothing? To say so is absurd and just flat wrong. This blowout was the worst environmental disaster in the history of this country. That is a fact. BP wants the citizens of the Gulf States to forget it ever happened while dodging the misery they caused individuals, businesses and governments to bear.
This is the bottom line – BP struck a deal to compensate businesses and individuals transparently and fairly, so that BP would not be in court with these same businesses for 10 to 20 years. Then BP waited until after the three-year anniversary of the Spill, after the Settlement was locked in, and after the criminal charges were resolved before setting off on this disgusting public relations effort to actually blame the victims!
BP has a habit of saying one thing and doing another. I don’t believe the courts will allow it to further harm our citizens and hardworking business owners. Where I come from, a deal is a deal, and commitments are kept. This is exactly what we should demand from a corporate giant like BP.
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