(MONTGOMERY)--On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, pouring five million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven men lost their lives that day, and thousands of Gulf Coast residents lost their livelihoods in the months that followed.
Four years later, the spill’s effects persist. Oil still lies off the Alabama coastline. The State has yet to be compensated for its losses, just as thousands of Alabamians have yet to be compensated for their own losses. Many of our people settled with BP in 2012, only to watch BP back away from the deal. Sadly, BP’s commitment to the Gulf still lies primarily in television ads, not in reality.
When I took office in January 2011, I made it my top priority to hold BP and its fellow defendants fully accountable under the law. As Coordinating Counsel for the Gulf States, I worked with a team of attorneys to prove to a federal judge in New Orleans that the gross negligence of BP, Transocean, and Halliburton caused the Spill. I expect a ruling from that first trial soon. The next trial, set for January 2015, will determine how much money BP owes the federal government in civil penalties, a portion of which Alabama will receive through the RESTORE Act. Shortly thereafter, Alabama will be the first state to try its economic damages case in court, hopefully before a jury in Montgomery.
I have not forgotten the 2010 spill, and I will not forget my commitment to keep the pressure on all of those responsible for this spill. Millions of Alabamians expect and deserve nothing less.