This opinion piece presents the opinions of the author.
A little over three years ago – April 20, 2010, to be exact – a drilling rig named the Deepwater Horizon was drilling in the Gulf of Mexico when an explosion occurred and created one of the largest oil spills in history. The accident killed 11 people, and the drilling rig sank two days later on April 22. The well oozed crude oil and natural gas until for several months. On July 15, the well was temporarily plugged and completely plugged on September 19.
The blowout of the Deepwater Horizon was a great tragedy in many ways. But what has happened to BP, the company that was the operator of the well, is a tragedy, too.
For example, the Gulf Settlement Program, which was created to make monetary awards to people who had been harmed by the accident, has awarded millions of dollars to people under very questionable circumstances, according to legal papers filed by BP.
In November, BP filed papers with the District Court Supervised Settlement Program stating that there are claims for losses that “are either non-existent, exaggerated or have nothing to do with the Deepwater Horizon accident.”
BP stated that the Gulf Settlement Program “has handed out more than $540 million to more than 1,196 claimants located more than 100 miles from the Gulf, and who work in industries unlikely to have been impacted by the spill, including agriculture, construction, legal services and even nursing homes.”
BP recently noted in an ad in The Wall Street Journal that the Gulf Settlement Program has awarded $173,000 to an adult escort service in support of its claim of lost income because of the blowout. The ad stated that “an adult escort service submitted tax returns from 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 to support their claims of lost income. All of the tax returns were dated 2012 and were unsigned.”
The ad noted that the IRS does not accept unsigned tax returns.
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