Monday marked the beginning of the long-awaited trial over the 2010 British Petroleum oil spill. The trial against BP and the other businesses involved will address what caused the explosion, how much blame should be placed on each company and exactly how much oil spilled.
Residents along Florida’s Gulf Coast are disappointed in the compensation they received for damage caused by the BP oil spill.
While no oil washed up on its shore, Steinhatchee was one of the cities negatively impacted by the spill.
Linda Wicker, owner of Roy’s Restaurant in Steinhatchee, said the perception of oil was enough to keep people away.
“The people just didn’t come,” Wicker said. “They weren’t going to take the chance of coming to Steinhatchee when there was an oil spill. It didn’t matter how much they were told that there was no oil on our shoreline.”
Wicker said business in the restaurant dropped between 20 and 30 percent in the summer of 2010. She said Steinhatchee saw just as much damage to business as any city that had actually seen oil on their shoreline.
“The perception of contamination was there,” Wicker said. “Whether it was or not, it really didn’t matter. It was the idea that the Gulf had an oil spill. So, if you’re on the Gulf, then you too must be affected.”
Now, about three years after the spill, Wicker said she sometimes still has customers questioning where Roy’s seafood is from and whether it might be contaminated.
BP has paid $4.9 billion into the Deepwater Horizon Trust to provide compensation from damage. However, Wicker said the compensation Steinhatchee has received was not enough to cover the damage.
“We suffered the damage that we did,” Wicker said. “I think BP pretended to be the good guy in the white hat. ”
Wicker said she plans to follow the trial, but isn’t expecting much. She said the U.S. government has let BP off too easily and isn’t hopeful for more retribution.
Mike Llerena wrote this story online.