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BP Mounting Largest Oil Spill Containment Operation in History as Class Action Lawsuits Filed

According to today’s article at reuters.com, shrimpers in Louisiana and Alabama have filed class-action lawsuits against oil giant BP Plc and owners of the drilling platform that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20th.

5,000 barrels, or the equivalent of 210,000 gallons of crude oil, is gushing from the sea floor where the blowout occurred, estimates the Coast Guard. BP is mounting what it calls the ‘largest oil spill containment operation in history.’ Authorities say it could take weeks to stop the leak.

The oil slick coating the Gulf waters off the coast of southeast Louisiana is 600-square-miles.

The Gulf Coast region is one of the most productive U.S. fisheries, especially for shrimp. In 2008, it accounted for over 70 percent of a nationwide catch valued at $442 million.

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The lawsuits seek economic and compensatory damages of at least $5 million, the minimum sum required by the federal Class Action Fairness Act. In addition, an unspecified amount of punitive damages are being sought.

Richard Arsenault, partner at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault was quoted as saying: “While we’re still in the embryonic stages of quantifying the environmental impact, we’re watching in real time, and somewhat helplessly, a slow-motion disaster.”

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