Deepwater Horizon most litigated environmental issue of past decade, report finds

Deepwater Horizon most litigated environmental issue of past decade, report finds
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The Deepwater Horizon oil spill proved to be one of the most litigious environmental events in the past decade, according to an analysis of cases released by Lex Machina on Tuesday.

The 2010 spill, which released millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, spurred nearly 7,000 lawsuits, more than half of the 13,000 total environmental cases filed between 2009 and 2018, according to Lex Machina, a division of LexisNexis. Many of those cases continue to be litigated.


The report found that more than $13.6 billion in damages tied to the Deepwater Horizon spill have been awarded by the courts to date.

The report also offers other details into the world of environmental litigation.

While the federal government was the most common plaintiff, green groups have a heavy hand in litigation as well. Groups like the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Natural Resources Defense Council were top filers. New York was the only state listed among the top 20 plaintiffs by litigation filed between 2016 and 2018, but the analysis did not include multidistrict litigation.

Former Interior Department Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy & Environment — Biden makes return to pre-Trump national monument boundaries official Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Biden launches blitz for jobs plan with 'thank you, Georgia' MORE was the most-sued person over that three years period, followed by the department itself, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Environmental Protection Agency. However, excluding suits against Zinke, a similar amount of litigation was filed in the final years of the Obama administration.