2006 appraisal: “$1.3 Trillion are at risk” from oil spill; only for Mississippi Delta

$1.3 trillion figure does not include other areas to be affected by the BP oil spill.

Gulf spill threatens $1.3T resource, CBC News, June 10, 2010:

A study… suggests [the Mississippi Delta’s] resources valued at $1.3 trillion US are at risk from the oozing crude. The trillion-dollar figure is based on the economic and human impact of the Mississippi Delta region, according to John Day, professor emeritus in the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences at Louisiana State University.

“Just as an ecosystem is providing habitat and the organisms that we harvest, it provides storm protection and cleans water,” Day said in an interview with CBC News. “And it has aesthetic and spiritual values, it supports tourism; you know there’s a very long list of these services that natural systems do and they’re absolutely essential to the maintenance of healthy economy.”

“These huge numbers show that the BP oil spill, hurricanes and continued wetland degradation threaten not only the Gulf regional economy, but the national economy,” said David Batker, executive director of Earth Economics, and a co-author on the report.

Oil-threatened estuary is key to life in the gulf, Los Angeles Times, June 11, 2010:

[T]he present value of the Mississippi Delta would be between $330 billion and $1.3 trillion, according to a 2006 report by the Seattle-based group Earth Economics

Study claims Gulf oil spill reimbursements could topple BP, The Hill, June 12, 2010:

BP’s capitalization level was recently pegged at no more than $160 billion…… other Gulf areas [besides the Mississipp Delta] affected by the spill are not a part of the report’s asset total.

The study by Earth Economics entitled Gaining Ground used 8 economic methodologies to calculate the total assets of 11 areas in the Mississippi Delta already impacted by the oil spill. The process used was similar to accountants appraising the worth of a company that is up for sale. … They include the oil’s potential impact on the area’s water supply, water flow regulation, hurricane protection, food production, raw materials production, recreational value, carbon sequestration, atmospheric composition regulation, waste treatment, aesthetic value and habitat value.

Batker cautions BP executives against expecting to reimburse Gulf residents using the calculations that compensated victims of the Exxon spill. … These [asset calculations] are all methods that are accepted by academic literature, he said, adding, If this was 20 years ago you’d say these shrimpers lost their income for a year, we’re going to reimburse them for that, and we’ll see ya later. Now, we can say damage to the wetlands will lose X amount.


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