Statement by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on the BP Oil Spill
Attorney General Greg Abbott Requests that BP Provide $25 Million for Oil Spill Clean-up
Yesterday the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed that tar balls from BP’s Deepwater Horizon were located on Texas shores. While we do not yet know--and cannot yet calculate--the ultimate damage this ecological and economic disaster will inflict upon the state of Texas, we do know that BP will be held fully financially accountable for the costs incurred by the taxpayers when state and local governments engage in clean-up and response efforts. Equally important, BP will also be held responsible for the economic harm suffered by coastal businesses, fisherman, landowners, individuals and communities as a result of the Deepwater Horizon spill.
Over the last few weeks, the Office of the Attorney General has participated in an ongoing series of meetings and conference calls with BP, Gulf State attorneys general, the U.S. Department of Justice and relevant Texas state government agencies to prepare for the State's legal response in the event oil from the Deepwater Horizon reached our shores.
BP has repeatedly assured us that they will fully compensate communities, businesses, individuals and governmental entities that incur costs because of this oil spill. To ensure that BP fulfills its promises, this morning I spoke with Jack Lynch, BP’s General Counsel, to request that BP provide $25 million to fund Texas’ response and clean-up efforts--just as it did for each of the other Gulf Coast states. That request was formalized in a letter sent to BP earlier today.
Additionally, this morning I spoke to Kenneth R. Feinberg, Administrator of the $20 billion, BP-funded Gulf Coast Claims Facility. During that conversation, I requested that claims offices be opened in Texas so that coastal residents, fisherman and small businesses can seek compensation for any economic harm they suffer because of this spill. My request was submitted to Mr. Feinberg earlier today. Based upon Mr. Feinberg’s very helpful comments during our conversation, I am confident that claims offices will be opened in the State of Texas in the next few weeks.
For the last three months, the Texas Attorney General’s Office has been collaborating with the attorneys general from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida on legal strategies that will hold BP accountable for the damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon spill-and to help protect our coastal communities, businesses and ecological resources. That multi-jurisdictional effort also includes the U.S. Department of Justice, which is working with the Gulf State attorneys general to pursue the full array of civil and criminal legal actions against BP.
Throughout this process, the Texas Attorney General’s Office has worked with the Texas General Land Office, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Governor’s Office on a coordinated state response to the oil spill. That response includes baseline testing of Texas waters that will document our coast’s condition before the oil spill’s arrival so that BP can be held responsible for any degradation or damage that occurs because of the Deepwater Horizon spill.
While the Texas Attorney General’s Office and relevant state agencies are immediately taking steps to respond to the arrival of oil from Deepwater Horizon, at this time the General Land Office, which oversees the state’s response to oil spills, is reporting that just five gallons of tar balls have been located on Texas shores. The amount of oil that has come to shore in Texas so far has not required the closure of Texas beaches. Personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard and the General Land Office continue to monitor the situation.
Texas businesses, fishermen or coastal residents who have been economically harmed by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill should contact (800) 440-0858 to make a claim.
Texas state and local governments that have incurred costs because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill clean-up and response effort should contact (302) 476-7732 to make a claim.
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