Louisiana is seeking damages of $1 million a day each from BP and other companies associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year.
The federal suit, filed by state Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell last week in New Orleans, contends that 4.9 million barrels of oil and natural gas leaked into the Gulf over 87 days because BP and other defendants disregarded normal industry safety practices and government regulations when drilling the deepwater well.
“Defendants made or authorized a number of reckless decisions in the interest of speed and cost savings, at the expense of safety and industry best practices,” according to Caldwell’s complaint.
The blowout resulted in “the largest marine spill in history,” the complaint said. “Oil, gas, and other pollutants from the spill have, in one or more forms, invaded and continue to invade, Louisiana’s reedy freshwater, brackish, and saline wetlands, and continue to impact new areas of the Louisiana coastline.”
Louisiana is also seeking full reimbursement for all state response efforts to the spill.
“As of Feb. 15, 2011, the state has incurred at least $342,612 in unpaid response costs,” the complaint said. “The full extent of costs expended and damages suffered by the state is not yet known.”
Louisiana has received $270 million from BP, including $60 million for construction of protective offshore sand berms, $35 million for damage assessment, and $25 million for increased agency costs in responding to the spill.
The blowout killed 11 rig workers and injured 17 others.