The blowout of the Transocean oil rig on April 20, 2010, had a big impact on workers, wildlife and the tourist industry of the surrounding areas. The offshore accident left so much damage in its wake that of course it will take time for all of the legal matters connected to the incident to be over.
There are both criminal and civil cases that stem from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Last week, a judge approved a settlement with Transocean in its criminal case. For violating the Clean Water Act, Transocean will pay $400 million in fines, the majority of which will go toward environment cleanup and protection of the Gulf.
The legal hurdles that Transocean faces, however, are not entirely over. There are still civil suits that remain to be heard beginning at the end of this month. Not only did the initial explosion at the rig lead to the deaths of 11 workers, but millions of barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf for a staggering 87 days. Animals and wildlife significantly suffered. The tourist industries in the nearby Gulf states also suffered. This widespread damage has inspired various civil lawsuits.
Transocean isn’t the only target of criminal and civil lawsuits related to the oil spill. BP operated the rig and well and was contracting Transocean to drill when the accident took place. It is also targeted for its alleged violations against the Clean Water Act and could end up paying several billions of dollars in fines for those violations.
When there is a development in this high-profile water contamination case, we will post an update. Our Georgia environmental law attorneys have experience in cases involving the Clean Water Act and related state and federal laws.
Source: Reuters, “U.S. judge accepts Transocean $400 million Macondo settlement,” Feb. 14, 2013