BP Says Gulf Spill Payouts Are 'Inflated'

BP is escalating a media campaign disputing unpaid Gulf spill claims.

Activists holding signs regarding BP and deepwater horizon
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BP has begun an aggressive ad campaign to defend its dispute of billions of dollars of compensation in settlement payouts to businesses following its 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Although the oil company has already paid out more than $42 billion in fines, clean-up costs and compensation, it is now fighting many claims that it says are "inflated" or "do not even exist," according to CNN. BP placed full-page ads in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Washington Post on Wednesday to defend its position.

"Whatever you think about BP, we can all agree that it's wrong for anyone to take money they don't deserve," the ad stated.

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On Tuesday, the London-based company also began sending out hundreds of letters to lawyers for many Gulf Coast businesses it believes received excessive payments from the multibillion-dollar settlement, according to the Associated Press.

In the letters, BP warns lawyers for the businesses that it may seek to recover at least some of their clients' shares of the settlement if it is successful in its July 8 court appeal, CNN reported.

"BP reserves whatever rights it may have to pursue any legal method to recover such overpayments," company attorney Daniel Cantor wrote in the letter, according to the AP.

Because the company agreed to a compensation formula and framework in a legal settlement, BP has no control over its payments to the businesses, according to Reuters. The company insists that the formula is being misinterpreted, but the court-appointed claims administrator disagrees and its process has been upheld by the New Orleans federal court that is dealing with a host of legal issues surrounding the 2010 disaster.

BP's ad claims that the ruling "interprets the settlement in a way no one intended" and results in settlement payouts to businesses that didn't suffer any spill-related losses.

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"Even though we're appealing the misinterpretation of the agreement, we want you to know that the litigation over this issue has not in any way changed our commitment to the Gulf," it says, according to the AP.

BP spokesman Geoff Morrell said the newspaper ad is consistent with the company's efforts to keep the public informed of its economic and environmental restoration efforts.

"It explains the actions we are taking to defend the contract we agreed to and to assure the integrity of the claims process," he said in a statement. "But it is also intended to make clear that BP remains as committed today as it was 3 years ago to doing the right thing. While we are actively litigating the payments by the claims program for inflated and even fictitious losses, we remain fully committed to paying legitimate claims due to the accident."

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