BP oil spill affects Tallahassee business owners


Oil giant BP has agreed to pay $4.5 billion dollars in criminal fees stemming from the oil spill in the gulf and plead guilty to criminal misconduct in the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

In addition to it being the largest criminal fine in the history of the United States, it comes as a relief for many Americans seeing the London-based Corporation take responsibility for the disaster.

John Rivers is the owner of the only Bait and Tackle store in Tallahassee. The spill has affected John and his business in a major way.

“People got a little afraid to eat the fish that they were catching when they went fishing.” Rivers said.

He went on to explain that he catches and sells mullet, small, grey fish found worldwide in coastal temperate and tropical waters. Rivers saw a decrease in revenue from mullet in 2010 when the spill took place and claims that this is also due to consumers losing confidence when it comes to eating seafood from the gulf.

John’s store is not the only business affected. There are stores all around Tallahassee that rely on the constant flow of fresh fish and seafood that took a devastating blow after the spill.

“I would just like to recover my losses.” said Greg Fisher, owner of a seafood store on North Bronough Street.

Fisher has two claims against BP in the Deepwater Horizon Class action lawsuit.

He explained that his business was just starting out when the disaster took place. The oil spill hurt business to the point that he almost had to shut down.

BP continues to aid in the restoration of affected areas. According to the BP website, efforts have focused primarily on support for education initiatives, workforce training and community development.

The Justice Department requires BP to pay $2.4 billion into a fund that will be used to restore islands off of the Gulf Coast and other systems damaged by oil.

The explosion that caused the worst U.S. offshore oil spill ever claimed the lives of 11 rig workers and affected more than just the seafood industry. Oil is used to make a wide variety of products from diesel fuel to heating oil.

The government has indicted the two highest-ranking BP supervisors aboard the Deepwater Horizon on 23 counts including manslaughter.

BP reported a $17.2 billion dollar loss in the quarter when the spill took place. It also reported profits of 43 billion dollars over the following nine quarters.