Sunday, May 23, 2010

Liability for Economic Damages from the Oil Spill

The oil continuing to spill into the Gulf of Mexico for more than a month has been called the worst environmental crisis ever experienced in the United States.  

Unlike the drill pipe leaking at the bottom of the ocean, British Petroleum's liability for economic damages from that spill is capped under federal law in the United States. 

U.S. law requires companies to pay for all environmental damage, but the law caps economic damages at $75 million. Some Democratic lawmakers want to raise the cap to $10 billion, and others want to take it off completely.  Legislation to lift the caps has been introduced in Congress but was blocked this week by Senate Republicans, meaning that U.S. taxpayers rather than the oil company will be the ones to pay.  Click here to read more.  Please use the comment function on this blog to leave us your thoughts.

If the surface oil (and oil beneath the surface) drifts to Mexico and Caribbean nations, what will BP's liability be under international law or the laws of those nations?


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