The oil spill that was once expected to bring economic ruin to the Gulf Coast appears to have delivered something entirely different: a gusher of money.
Some people profiteered from the spill by charging BP outrageous rates for cleanup. Others profited from BP claims money, handed out in arbitrary ways. So many people cashed in that they earned nicknames — “spillionaires” or “BP rich.” Meanwhile, others hurt by the spill ended up getting comparatively little.
In the end, BP’s attempt to make things right — spending more than $16 billion so far, mostly on claims of damage and cleanup — created new divisions and even new wrongs. Because the federal government ceded control over spill cleanup spending to BP, it’s impossible to know for certain what that money accomplished, or what exactly was done.