Fishing businesses and others harmed by the recent oil spill in Texas' Galveston Bay have filed a class action lawsuit against defendants Kirby Inland Marine and Cleopatra Shipping Agency.
The suit, filed just two days after the barge collision near the Texas City Dike, seeks both compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys' fees, and additional unspecified damages.
At the time of the crash, the barge was carrying 924,000 gallons of oil. At the time the lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Galveston, plaintiffs were unsure just how much of this oil had leaked into the Bay. However, the plaintiffs claim that the estimated losses are great.
Not only is the amount of oil leaking into the Bay a concern for individuals and businesses that depend on it, but the type of oil is also of major concern. The barge was carrying heavy crude, a type of oil that does not easily evaporate and is difficult to clean up.
Accidents like this shape public opinion about oil transportation, whether via barges, pipelines, rail, or freight. The recent spill in Galveston Bay was avoidable, as the plaintiffs claim, and happened because the defendants failed to exercise reasonable care.
Many Nebraskans are concerned that the same type of thing will happen if TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline is ever built, except the spills will hit even closer to home- literally, their own backyards.