Settlement for BP oil spill workers falls short of expectations

A court settlement meant to compensate cleanup workers affected by the BP oil spill has largely failed, leaving many without proper aid.

Travis Loller and Michael Phillis report for The Associated Press.


In short:

  • The settlement has paid out only a small fraction, with 79% of recipients receiving no more than $1,300 each.
  • Legal hurdles and strict proof requirements have thwarted many workers' attempts to claim adequate compensation.
  • Attorneys and experts criticize the settlement and claims process as insufficient and overly stringent.

Key quote:

"I wanted people to get their day in court and they win or lose at trial. Let a jury decide. ...But they weren’t even given the chance to do that."

— Robin Greenwald, plaintiffs' attorney

Why this matters:

Cleanup workers were exposed to hazardous conditions and toxic substances, such as crude oil and chemical dispersants, which have been linked to a range of health issues. These include respiratory problems, skin conditions, and other serious ailments. Many workers have found the compensation inadequate relative to the severity and duration of their health problems, which in some cases require ongoing medical treatment.

If settlements fail to provide sufficient redress, not only do they leave affected individuals and communities struggling, but they also raise questions about the deterrence of future corporate negligence.

Due to disproportionate exposure to contaminated air, water, toxic chemicals, unsafe workplaces and other environmental hazards, poor, disenfranchised and minority communities face more health problems.

permafrost melt orange rivers
Credit: catolla/BigStock Photo ID: 40811500

Alaskan rivers turning orange due to climate change

Climate change is causing Alaska’s rivers to turn orange, posing serious risks to the state's ecosystems and rural communities.

Anumita Kaur reports for The Washington Post.

Keep reading...Show less
Senator Whitehouse & climate change

Senator Whitehouse puts climate change on budget committee’s agenda

For more than a decade, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave daily warnings about the mounting threat of climate change. Now he has a powerful new perch.
Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way
Coast Guard inspects Cameron LNG Facility in preparation for first LNG export in 2019. (Credit: Coast Guard News)

Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way

This 2-part series was co-produced by Environmental Health News and the journalism non-profit Economic Hardship Reporting Project. See part 1 here.Este ensayo también está disponible en español
Keep reading...Show less
Big Oil bankrolling Trump
Credit: maxxyustas/BigStock Photo ID: 138475457

Democrats investigate oil execs' support for Trump campaign funds

Congressional Democrats are probing oil industry executives about their potential contributions to Donald Trump's campaign in exchange for favorable policies.

Ben Lefebvre reports for Politico.

Keep reading...Show less

Heat waves threaten power grid stability with potential blackouts

Prolonged heat waves could increasingly cause blackouts by overheating power transformers, particularly in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas, new research indicates.

Harry Stevens reports for The Washington Post.

Keep reading...Show less

Young Alaskans file lawsuit to halt massive gas export project

Eight Alaskan youths are suing the state over a $38.7 billion gas export project, arguing it violates their constitutional rights by exacerbating climate change.

Dharna Noor reports for The Guardian.

Keep reading...Show less

Data gaps in US territories threaten climate resilience

Federal agencies often neglect to collect data in U.S. territories as comprehensively as they do for states, jeopardizing climate adaptation and mitigation efforts, a new GAO report reveals.

Anita Hofschneider reports for Grist.

Keep reading...Show less

Health risks increase as Brazil’s floodwaters recede

The first two deaths from leptospirosis have been reported in southern Brazil as floodwaters recede, with experts predicting a surge in fatalities.

Gabriela Sá Pessoa reports for The Associated Press

Keep reading...Show less
From our Newsroom
environmental justice pittsburgh

Environmental justice advocates find hope, healing and community in Pittsburgh

Advocates and researchers gathered to not only discuss ongoing fights but victories, self-care and cautious optimism about the path ahead.

air pollution pittsburgh

Amidst a controversial international sale, U.S. Steel falls behind in cleaner steelmaking

U.S. Steel’s proposed sale to Nippon Steel stokes concerns over labor rights and national security, all while the company continues to break clean air laws in Western Pennsylvania.

exxon houston petrochemicals

Spanish-speaking residents feel left out of permitting process at massive Exxon petrochemical plant in Houston-area

“It is important to ensure meaningful engagement efforts are inclusive and accessible to all diverse members of our communities.”

youth climate change

"Our lives might be on the line"

Eighth graders reflect on the state of the planet.

sargassum

After 13 years, no end in sight for Caribbean sargassum invasion

Thousands of people were hurt by sargassum blooms last year in the Caribbean.

youth climate change

“We should take care of what is precious to us"

Eighth graders reflect on the state of the planet.

Stay informed: sign up for The Daily Climate newsletter
Top news on climate impacts, solutions, politics, drivers. Delivered to your inbox week days.