Julius ProvostBeyond the Gulf oil spill, BP is experiencing more troubled waters as a woman in Texas City is suing the company for $10 million for killing her baby.
Sharon Champion says excessive emissions from their refinery plant killed her 6-month-old son, Julius Provost, who died July 23.
"BP is the reason my baby is not here. If they could have told me something all of this could have been prevented," Champion said.
Doctors were unable to determine the cause of the baby's illness when he was alive, and his cause of death was ruled as undetermined.
However, BP reportedly had 24 emissions events during the baby's short life because they continued to operate machinery that wasn't working right. So the mother's accusations certainly aren't without substance. She is one of 12,000 plaintiffs in the lawsuit who claim to have been affected by a 40-day toxic release this spring.
BP says they were unaware of the danger because monitors didn't alert them; Champion's attorney, Anthony Buzbee, says they were "rigged" not to and has a photograph to prove it.
"If there is a situation within the plant where a paper clip can disable the monitors it says a lot about BP and the seriousness in which they monitor for emissions," Buzbee told KIAH-TV Houston.
An article in the Houston Chronicle says while BP notified the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality of the situation, workers actually breathing the fumes and people in the community were told nothing.
For its part, BP has stuck to a standard legal comment about being saddened by the baby's death, but not offering further comment.
Whether BP is the direct cause of this child's death or simply contributed to it, I don't know. But it terrifies me to think about all the other things being pumped into our environment that can and are killing us and our children.
And it makes me furious that companies that are this powerful and potent allow mistakes like this to be made and, worse, try to cover them up. No amount of profit should be worth taking any chances with people's lives, and this case is further proof that BP doesn't seem to get that.
Much like Brad Pitt, I've never been pro death penalty before, but between this case and the horror of the Gulf oil spill, I might reconsider it for BP's execs.
Image via KIAH-TV Houston