Fishermen’s attorneys: BP to claim oil emanated from another source; “Prevented independent scientists from collecting appropriate samples” near blow-out

Comments by Stuart H. Smith and Mike Stag, of Smith Stag LLC of New Orleans, attorneys representing the United Commercial Fishermen of Louisiana, as well as environmental organizations and public entities against BP, et al.:

We believe BP has inadequately collected and maintained samples, and have prevented independent scientists from collecting appropriate samples. ...

These samples are critical to air dispersion modeling and may prove essential in combating attempts by BP to claim that tarballs or oil contamination emanated from a source other than the Macondo well. ...

Since BP is strictly liable as the Responsible Party for claims under the Oil Protection Act, it seems logical to assume that its defense might focus on specific causation. Without proper environmental testing and oil finger-print analysis derived from on-site sampling, Plaintiffs may be at an immense disadvantage in trying to prove their claims. ...

Requiring these tests will benefit the public in that a more detailed source oil database will arise and there will be better identification of weathered oil, nixed oil and burned oil, allowing any persons with BP oil contaminated lands to properly challenge any false negatives. This may also provide the public with a means to confirm the claims of effectiveness of the subsea injection of dispersants. Additional air modeling will be produced as a result, allowing for a better understanding of the health and safety issues associated with the oil spill.

(originally appearing in the Cypress
, Houston, TX)

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