BP could be confronted with another substantial compensation bill from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, as Mexico will try the company in its own federal courts, marking the first time that BP has been prosecuted in a court outside the U.S.
The oil rig exploded on the night of April 20, 2010 after a gas leak, killing 11 crew members and injuring 17 others. Around 5 million barrels of oil seeped into the Gulf of Mexico over the following 87 days, causing severe environmental damage.
Class action lawsuits are rare in Mexico, having only been introduced in 2010, according to TeleSUR. The collective responsible for filing the case, Acciones Colectivas de Sinaloa, is a non-governmental organization specializing in environmental action. It launched the case against four BP subsidiaries-two headquartered in Texas, two in Mexico- at a federal court in Mexico City on Monday.
“BP has accepted that it is responsible and is paying for the damage in the U.S.,” Luis Manuel Pérez de Acha, a lawyer representing the case, told The Guardian. “The damage is ongoing here.”
The new lawsuit is petitioning the Mexican federal prosecutor’s Office for the Protection of the Environment to present its previously unreleased studies of the extensive environmental damages, TeleSUR reported. Experts would also be called as witnesses to determine the extent of the impact on Mexican territory.
BP paid the largest environmental fine in U.S. history in recognition of the extensive damage caused by the spill, including destruction of marine life and harm to hundreds of surrounding communities, which included a $20.8 billion settlement with $43.8 billion in penalties for cleanup costs.
The Mexican case should conclude by the end of 2016, according to lawyers.
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