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Attorney: BP Offering False Hope

Mon, 05/10/2010 - 7:19am

NEW ORLEANS (PRNewswire) — The following is a statement from environmental attorney Stuart H. Smith of Smith Stag Law Firm, New Orleans on behalf of Gulf Oil Disaster Recovery Group:

"The Gulf Oil Disaster Recovery Group, on behalf of the United Fishermen's Association and the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, were the first to release information that the BP cofferdam experiment has failed.

"Let me translate what BP has said: They have found no way to control this wellhead. BP knew that last night. Why was this information not immediately released? BP avoided the truth about the matter in a morning press conference and again used 'spin' this afternoon to downplay and control the truth. They have repeatedly issued conflicting press releases.

"As expected, this attempt with cofferdam to operate at these ocean depths has challenges which have never been encountered. At this time, the first attempt to use a cap has failed. BP and government officials are sidestepping the real issue and already talking about other options. I believe their next attempt will be TOP-KILL. This involves pumping rubber trash down the pipe and then cementing to try to get a new well plug.

"BP needs to stop avoiding the truth and allow all public officials to prepare for a worst case scenario. We are at the door. Hopefully, a miracle will occur but we should plan for the worst, but without real information, that is impossible. We should have all learned from Katrina that rather than denying the worst case, we should be ready for it.

"Many experts believe, and we concur, that we are one tiny step away from a true catastrophe. BP has admitted flow could reach 60,000 barrels a day. A catastrophic failure means an even worse rate of leakage than now reported or admitted by British Petroleum. We may see the equivalent of a Valdez-type leak every five to six days in the Gulf.

"At that rate of release, there could easily be a significant threat not only to the environment, but to public health for those downwind of the oil slick. Air discharges of components of oil, such as benzene a known human carcinogen, and other volatile organic compounds could be significant.

"It is imperative that BP and the federal government immediately release to the public all information that they have as a result of modeling a worst case scenario."

Stuart H. Smith of the law firm Smith Stag, LLC, New Orleans, Louisiana has assembled a working group of lawyers from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida to prosecute claims for those who have been affected by BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Commercial fishermen and shrimpers have filed a class-action lawsuit against BP and owners of the oil rig for economic losses stemming from the disaster. The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday, April 28 in U.S. District Court in New Orleans.

SOURCE: Gulf Oil Disaster Recovery Group

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