GOP lawmaker wants BP settlement to cover drilling ban losses

The Interior Department froze deepwater drilling after the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, which dumped millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over several months.

The ban was lifted in October of that year, and permitting under tougher standards began in February 2011. Landry and other administration critics called the moratorium an overreaction that further harmed the region’s economy.

The congressman’s letter to the attorneys says the Gulf Coast Claims Facility set up after the spill should have been able to pay out claims stemming from inability to work because of the freeze.

The GCCF, under the settlement, is transitioning to a new court-supervised claims payment system.

“But for the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, there would not have been a drilling moratorium,” Landry writes. “The losses resulting from the moratorium are real and damaged many individuals and businesses.”

The letter adds that the court and the parties to the settlement ensure those parties are “adequately compensated.”

The proposed settlement, which is estimated to reach $7.8 billion, covers economic losses from the spill, including seafood industry woes and medical claims.

But it’s hardly the end of the legal road for BP, which faces environmental charges and other exposure.