FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 25, 2013
OPENING STATEMENT OF ATTORNEY GENERAL LUTHER STRANGE
May it please the Court:
I am Luther Strange, the Attorney General of the state of Alabama and Liaison Counsel for the Gulf States in this historic litigation. It is my privilege to stand before you today to represent Alabama and its nearly 5 million citizens. In due course, I will have the opportunity to detail the lingering economic and environmental devastation the Defendants inflicted on Alabama. And I will have a great deal to say about our damages, for they are indeed great. But today, I will be brief.
In this Phase One, we address just one issue: Who is at fault for the explosion and spill that caused such unprecedented and catastrophic damages to the Gulf Coast? On this issue, Alabama’s interests align perfectly with the interests of the United States and the private plaintiffs. Alabama therefore supports and affirms the description of the facts and law so well outlined by Mr. Roy and Mr. Underhill, and I will not duplicate their efforts.
Instead, I offer two points that summarize our collective case against BP:
One: The Spill was both predictable and preventable.
Two: BP’s culture of corporate callousness towards the Gulf caused the Spill.
On the first point, the evidence will show that BP knew that the risk of a deepwater blowout in the Gulf was great; in fact, it was 9 times greater than in the North Sea.
BP also knew–and certainly should have known–before the blow-out that:
- The centralizers would not centralize
- The cement would not cement
- The controllers would not control, and
- The blowout-preventer would not prevent
We will show that BP knew all of this; but BP was blinded by their bottom line, which leads me to my second point: The Spill was tragically inevitable due to BP’s corporate culture.
The evidence will show that, at BP, money mattered most.
- Money mattered more than the environment.
- Money mattered more than the thousands of jobs and businesses they destroyed along the Gulf Coast.
- Money even mattered more than the lives of the 11 workers who died on the Horizon rig.
Money mattered more to BP than the Gulf. A lot more.
Your honor, the evidence will be clear and unmistakable: Greed devastated the Gulf.
Finally your Honor, I agree with Mr. Roy that, in the coming weeks, we will prove that BP acted with gross negligence and willful misconduct – and that we will prove the same level of fault against two of BP’s partners, Transocean and Halliburton. For that reason, we will ask the Court at the end of this trial to rule that all three – BP, Transocean, and Halliburton – are liable for punitive damages to the State of Alabama.
Again, it is a privilege to stand here before you as this historic case gets underway. Thank you.