BP Oil Spill Timeline And Cleanup Law

When a British Petroleum oil rig caught fire in the deep waters of the Gulf Coast on April 20, 2010 there was no initial report of an oil spill. The Deepwater Horizon oil rig, owned by Transocean Ltd. and leased by BP, exploded killing 11 workers. At the time of the explosion the rig had been drilling 8,000 barrels of oil per day and had 700,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board. In spite of this, there was no initial concern of an oil spill. The rig sank to the bottom of the Gulf on April 22, 2010.
In spite of its initial report that no oil had leaked from the sunken rig, the Coast Guard reversed itself on April 24th and stated that an estimated 1,000 gallons of oil was leaking per day from the rig that was now submerged 5,000 feet below.
On April 26th, BP announces that it will be able to contain the oil spill and is working to increase its efforts at offshore oil recovery.
On April 27th, underwater robots are deployed to stop the flow of oil but are unable to do so. That same day, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) writes a letter to BP officials inquiring as to what they knew about the risks involved in the offshore drilling and what steps they had taken to respond to the disaster. In his letter, Waxman notes that BP appears to have no adequate plan to deal with the environmental disaster and that the methods they are planning to utilize had never been used in such deep water.
On April 28th, the US Coast Guard announces that the original estimate of oil spewing from the sunken rig was underestimated and that the more accurate number was 5,000 gallons of oil spilling from the rig each day.
On May 1st, the Coast Guard states that the oil spill will reach the US shoreline.
On May 2nd, President Obama visits the Gulf Shore and US officials announce the closure of areas for fishing for 10 days.
On May 5th, BP attempts to lower a domed container 5,000 feet below the Gulf surface to attempt to contain the gusher and funnel the spilled oil onto a nearby vessel.
President Obama has stated that the BP will be held responsible for the clean-up costs as well as the economic losses suffered by those industries affected by the oil spill. British Petroleum has stated that it will pay for all “legitimate” claims regarding the oil spill. The attorneys general from five Gulf Coast states have vowed to make the oil company clarify what BP considers “legitimate” claims.
As a result of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, a federal law was passed making oil companies responsible for such oil spill disasters up to $75 million. BP CEO told Congress on May 4, 2010 that the damage will exceed that $75 million cap. Democratic Senators are proposing new legislation to increase that cap to $1 billion in hopes that such new legislation will be retroactive and enforceable in this new oil spill disaster.