The crude Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster enters its fourth week and there are some hints as to what went wrong on April 20th, according to a NY Times article. A Congressional investigation finds that a safety mechanism that’s supposed to seal the undersea well if there is sudden pressure may have failed. The House Energy and Commerce Committee disclosed the findings on Wednesday, May 12. Henry Waxman of California said the more he hears about the BP Gulf Coast oil spill, the more concerned he becomes. That is because, according to a BP official, the oil giant may have known ahead of the explosion that killed 11 workers, that the well device couldn’t pass the negative-pressure test. A hydraulic leak has been confirmed after underwater robots injected dye into the blowout preventer and it leaked out of a loose fitting. The failure of the blowout preventer is just one of several possible causes of the failure.
Meanwhile, oil is dumping into the Gulf at about 210,000 gallons a day from the well about 5,000 feet beneath the surface. Last weekend a containment dome failed to stop the leak. Next to be tried is something known as a top hat that is smaller than the containment dome. Public hearings are underway in Kenner, Louisiana and on the second day officials acknowledge that government oversight of the oil rigs and industry is insufficient, current regulations were written in 1978 when wells were closer to shore and not so deep, and amounts to the industry regulating itself. Basically as it stands, the blowout prevent was created by industry, and installed by the oil industry with no government oversight.
As it now stands, anyone damaged financially by the Gulf oil leak is facing a $75 million cap liability for the owners. The low cap was established in 1990 as an incentive to get the industry to agree to a tax for cleanups. It would be well-advised to consult with an experienced Florida oil leak economic damages attorney if you have suffered losses from the oil leak.
President Obama is proposing a $118 million package to aid those unemployed by the lack of fishing and food aid as well as increased inspection of seafood. The proposal also calls for raising the $75 million cap to $10 billion, which is the least it will take to get everyone on the road to recovery.