Gulf Coast states are gearing up to follow shrimpers and hotel owners in seeking payouts from BP PLC for lost revenue and other damages stemming from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.The demands could far exceed the $305 million BP has already given the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida to help pay cleanup costs, promote tourism and begin building sand berms off the coast of Louisiana, state officials say. Lawyers advising the states said they would eventually seek multi-billion dollar payouts, but it was still too early to give a tally.
BP declined to comment on the states' legal strategies. The British oil company agreed nearly two weeks ago to honor claims for damages and lost business revenue from individuals and businesses through a $20 billion, independent compensation fund administered by Kenneth Feinberg, the Washington, D.C.,-based lawyer and arbitration expert.
The fund is also meant to cover payments for states and localities to defray cleanup costs, but not necessarily claims for the larger economic damages that Florida and the other states plan to present directly to BP, the state's representatives said.
My initial impression was that the $20 billion would cover economic damages over and above cleanup costs. If the $20 billion is for cleanup costs and the states are going after more over and above that (no surprise, I guess), the final bill could be mind-blowing.
... Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has sought advice from state university researchers, economists and lawyers to assess the environmental and economic damage the spill has caused to the state.
I bet it is a real feeding frenzy at the Gulf coast land grant schools.