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Category : BP Oil Spill
A putative class of BP Products North America Inc. franchisees claimed in a suit Thursday in California that the energy giant and a subsidiary broke franchise agreements by mandating a set of business policies that cut into their earnings.
More than a dozen BP franchisees allege the company skimmed money from their businesses by forcing them to install new sales systems, controlling product pricing and manipulating gas supplies, among other improprieties.
The franchisees are all owners of ARCO-, BP- or am/pm-branded gas stations and convenience stores, whose collective damages following class certification will total well over $5 million, according to the complaint.
The plaintiffs are represented by Seeger Weiss LLP and Lee Tran & Liang APLC.
The material appears in spots across several thousand square miles of seafloor, they said. In many of those spots, they said, worms and other marine life that crawl along the sediment appear dead, though many organisms that can swim appear healthy. How the death of organisms in the sediment might affect the broader Gulf ecology is something scientists are studying.
BP has reimbursed the federal government $518 million for clean-up costs for the April oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a sum that has hit $581 million and keeps growing, congressional auditors said.
Auditors said there was about $1.6 billion in the fund as of the end of September. But to limit the government’s exposure, the law caps at $1 billion what agencies can draw from it for cleanup costs — even if the oil company responsible for a spill pledges to reimburse the government for all costs. The fund is at risk in the near future of reaching the limit of what the government can spend, the GAO said.
A federal investigator said Monday that reporters misinterpreted his findings about whether the pressure to cut costs contributed to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
“We didn’t see a situation where there was a man or two men or three men and they said we can do it this way and it will be more expensive, or we can do it this way and it will be safer,” Fred Bartlit, the chief counsel for the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, told reporters.
“I said that at least six times and I’m disappointed that you don’t seem to get it,” he said.
“Reporters always make these overarching conclusions,” he said. “Any time you’re talking about $1.5 million a day, money enters in.”
William Reilly, a co-chair of the panel, defended Bartlit. “What I heard him say was that he didn’t see any evidence of that,” Reilly said. “He didn’t see any evidence the other way either.”
Bob Graham, the other co-chair of the panel, said that the issue of whether a culture of cost-cutting undermined safety would be a topic for another day.
A survey of the seafloor near BP’s blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico has turned up dead and dying coral reefs that were probably damaged by the oil spill, scientists said Friday.
The large areas of darkened coral and other damaged marine organisms were almost certainly dying from exposure to toxic substances, scientists said.
The massive use of dispersant chemicals to break up the Deepwater Horizon oil leak may have prevented more serious harm to Louisiana’s wildlife and wetlands, but the remedy may actually have caused more subtle long-term harm to less visible but important components of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, suggests a University of Maryland researcher.
Associated Press: “A second report, entitled “Decision-Making in the Unified Command,” portrays the cleanup effort as confused, wasteful and often ineffective…”
The oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico is far from over. By documenting what is happening, Project Gulf Impact hopes to create global awareness of the problems at hand, and to help protect, through education and immediate action, the health of the residents of the Gulf of Mexico and others that are being affected by the spill.
The oil company said it has spent $11.2 billion so far reacting to the blowout, which began April 20 with an explosion that killed 11 workers aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. The well was declared to be fully sealed on Sept. 19.
BP announced in June that it would set up a $20 billion trust fund to guarantee payment of individual damage claims.
So far, BP said it has contributed $3 billion to the fund, and would add $2 billion in the fourth quarter. In following quarters, BP said the contribution would fall to $1.25 billion.