With documented evidence and testimony that BP has failed to preserve air and water samples containing oil, organic compounds and/or dispersant releases related to the DEEPWATER HORIZON catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, attorneys representing the United Commercial Fishermen of Louisiana, environmental organizations, public entities and businesses in states impacted by the disaster entered the U.S District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana to preserve samples which they believe are critical to the future health, safety and environment of the Gulf Coast.

“We believe BP has inadequately collected and maintained samples, and have prevented independent scientists from collecting appropriate samples,” said Attorneys Stuart H. Smith and Mike Stag, Smith Stag LLC of New Orleans, part of an independent group of Gulf Oil Disaster Recovery experts and attorneys who associated to represent those suffering from the disaster. “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 Macando well.”

Mr. Stag also said BP’s consistent denial about the catastrophe’s scope and impact makes their collection of air and water samples even more suspect. Further, as the wellhead is permanently closed, air and water dispersant uses are discontinued, and storms blow through the Gulf, the water samples will change, said Mr. Smith

“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,” said Mr. Stag.

The preservation order sought by the fishermen and other impacted victims requires more accurate and more frequent testing, as well as dissemination of certain information about BP’s testing procedure.

“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,” said Mr. Stag.

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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