Will a huge oil disaster mean less liability for BP?

05/03/10 Seán Kinane
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President Barack Obama has repeatedly stressed that BP is responsible for the cost of the cleanup of its oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

The attorneys general of five Gulf states, including Florida’s Bill McCollum, met yesterday and said a formal declaration of responsibility is needed before legal action can take place. They have asked BP to list the legitimate expenses the company will cover.

Governor Crist said Florida would send its bill to BP, who he called the responsible party for the 210,000 gallon per day spill.

The Associated Press reports the manufacturer of a fail-safe device on the oil well, Cameron International, has $500 million in liability insurance for legal claims.

So who will pay for the cleanup and the damage done?

Tim Kaye is a professor at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport. He specializes in Tort law and expects lawsuits based on the environmental damage from the leak.

“If it leaks so that it covers literally thousands of miles of beaches then I think that it may seem sort of counter-intuitive, the liability might actually be reduced.”

Tune in tomorrow where we will hear from Dr. Kaye about what the law says about workers injured or killed in the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

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