Noted environmental attorney Stuart H. Smith of Smith Stag Law Firm, New Orleans, Louisiana is concerned about a catastrophic failure of the BP Deepwater Horizon wellhead and fluid control systems.


Mr. Smith released the following statement:

“In contacting and retaining experts due to my representation of commercial fisherman and the Louisiana Environmental Action Network relative to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, I believe there is a strong possibility of a total failure of the BP Deepwater Horizon fluid control system.

“According to experts in the industry I have spoken to confidentially, the pipes from which the oil is currently leaking act as a choke on the oil flowing from the formation.

“A catastrophic failure could easily result in the release of 60,000 to 160,000 barrels of oil per day. For example, the BP ThunderHorse Prospect developed around 2006 is yielding this type of volume of oil.

“In a worst case scenario, this amount of oil would constitute one Valdez every two days.

“At that rate of release, there could easily be a significant threat not ony 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. No one seems to be talking about the possibility of such a catastrophic failure and the effect on human health and the environment.

“In the environmental arena, risk modeling is done day-in and day- out for every type of pollutant, whether going in the water, earth or air. Why are BP and the Environmental Protection Agency not releasing such information to the public? In light of the repeated increases in the estimates of the amount of oil being released, it clearly appears that additional failures of the pipe choke are occurring.”

Mr. Smith referenced this link regarding increased discharges into Gulf:

For information, also see


J. OLDHAM (OUTSIDE LOUISIANA/ NATIONAL PRESS) 703-519-1283 (w) 571-296-7747 (c)  or  703 371 7143 (c)

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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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