One year after BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, the number of lawsuits against the oil giant continues to mount
Ryan Lambert is enraged.
The owner of a charter fishing business, he had always supported the oil industry in his home state of Louisiana.
He previously trusted BP, and the rest of the oil industry, to do the right thing in case an accident happened. But not any more. "I’m seeing people starving to death and BP won’t pay them," said Lambert.
His business drop of 94 per cent in the last year has cost him more than $1.1mn, he told Al Jazeera, "They won’t pay me, they owe me well over a million dollars just for last year, and all they do is send more papers to fill out."
"They know what they did is wrong and they still won’t pay me. I’m done playing their games. All they are doing is starving people out and trying to get them to take the one-time $25,000 payment and give up their right to sue. I know thousands of people in the fishing industry, and I don’t know one person who has been made whole yet."
In the aftermath of BP’s disaster that began on April 20 of last year, the oil giant promised those whose livelihoods had been damaged that they would be made "whole" and fully compensated for their losses.
On June 1, 2010, upon the announcement that they were instituting a $20bn compensation fund to do this, BP board chairman Henric Svanberg stated: "[President Obama] is frustrated because he cares about the small people, and we care about the small people. I hear comments sometimes that large oil companies are greedy companies or don’t care, but that is not the case in BP. We care about the small people."
Lambert vehemently disagrees.
"I want the entire country to know, you cannot trust what BP or [what] the oil industry promises you. I’m most definitely taking up litigation against BP," he added.