British oil company BP says it should not have to pay for potential future economic losses to people in the U.S. Gulf region, saying the economy there has recovered from the 2010 oil rig explosion and massive oil spill.
In a 29-page document made public Friday, the company noted that tourism is booming in the region, federal fishing grounds have reopened, and the seafood there has been certified as safe to eat.
BP said it remained committed to paying all legitimate claims from people whose businesses have been damaged in the aftermath of the oil spill. But the company says it is now time to re-evaluate how the victims’ fund estimated future damages.
However, the president of Louisiana’s Seafood and Marketing Board told the Associated Press that fishermen will continue to lose money for years because of the spill. He said customers still worry about contamination, despite studies showing the seafood is safe.
Kenneth Feinberg, who manages the compensation claims process, said he would take BP’s submission under advisement.
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in April 2010, killing 11 people and starting an 85-day underwater leak that spewed nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. It was the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
BP set aside $20 billion to compensate those whose livelihoods were hurt after the oil spill. So far BP says the fund has paid out more than $4.5 billion to more than 195,000 people. A further $430 million has been offered in settlements which are still being considered by claimants.