Effects of the Gulf Oil Spill

One of the most resonant effects of the Gulf oil spill which occurred more than three years ago is economic. Although not as large as the environmental and health impact, it is something that can be easily quantified. People along the coast which were affected directly by the oil spill lost their homes, employment and/or their source of livelihood, and many are treading water as they struggle to survive the disaster. Many have given up and moved away, while others are hanging on, hoping that they can make a claim for damages from BP, owner operator of the Deepwater Horizon Oil rig which was the source of the spilled oil when it exploded.

Many of those who are hanging on are those that have sunk money into the place by buying property or establishing businesses, or both. Those with commercial or business interests in the area find themselves holding the bag in the aftermath of the oil spill, and are just now starting to pick up the threads of normal operations and some have even started planning for the future.

Many consider ongoing claims against BP for economic losses due to the disaster as part of their recovery plan, but it may not be as simple as it used to be. BP has cried foul against some claims which they allege are fraudulent, causing delays in payouts for both legitimate and fraudulent claims. This new wrinkle can have a serious effect on companies which are struggling to make ends meet, let alone do any realistic financial planning.

It is possible that the mood of economic uncertainty in the area could persist for long time, and investors remain cautious. Property values in the immediate area have sunk by about 15%, and they are forecast to sink another 20% before it starts to get better. By then it may be too late.

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