As you probably know there is an environmental disaster taking place just off the gulf coast. After an oil rig fire and the sinking of the oil rig the well is now pumping thousands of barrels a day of oil into the gulf. So far all efforts to contain the oil have failed and it's expected that the oil will begin reaching the coast any day.
As upsetting as this is, especially to the residents on the gulf coast, what is even more disturbing is that British Petroleum, which was leasing the well, probably won't pay any damages to residents for decades. I am pretty sure this is going to be the case because this sort of thing has happened before.
The oil tanker Exxon Valdez spilled at least 10 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound in Alaska in 1989. The aftermath was the greatest environmental disaster ever in U.S. history. Just as disturbing is that after the spill hundreds of Alaskans sued Exxon and the case is still not resolved. That's right, the spill occurred in 1989 and due to appeal after appeal by Exxon the case is still in court. Many of the litigants at this point have died.
So if the fisherpersons and others who make their money on the gulf coast or live on the coast are expecting a quick financial resolution from British Petroleum, they need to read about the Exxon Valdez disaster.