Via America’s Lawyer: Mike Papantonio and Trial Lawyer Magazine editor Farron Cousins take a look back at the 2010 BP oil spill, which new studies show was actually far worse than reported. BP had made concerted efforts with media outlets to downplay the impact of its Deepwater Horizon spill, which ravaged marine ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding waters. Also, JUUL is facing the fire as ads for their e-cigarettes have been found popping up on websites designed for teens, including Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon.
*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.
Mike Papantonio: A new report says that the damage from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was far worse than we ever thought it could be. Joining me to talk about that is Farron Cousins from the trial lawyer magazine? Farron, we saw this coming, your reporting and my reporting while the, full disclosure, we handled part of the BP case. We were one of the four firms that were signed to handle that case and so as we were handling the case, we kept asking the question, what’s the long term? And of course their experts said, oh gee, nothing to worry about. Just get it cleaned up at the surface and everything’s going to be fine. Take it from there.
Farron Cousins: Yeah, we, I mean we were all told back in the day, BP would go out in the media and the government would even release reports saying we’ve got to contained, right. You know, the oil is not going to get out of this little containment area. What parts did we, we treated with the Corexit. It was going to evaporate and disintegrate. But this latest study 10 years later finally told the truth and it said, listen, those containment barriers that the government put up, that the companies put up, they did nothing. It didn’t contain it. It didn’t keep that oil in there, and now we’ve found out because of that, the damage they said is about 30% worse than what was originally estimated at the time. So here we are 10 years later, finally getting more of the truth than we’ve ever had.
Mike Papantonio: Here’s where it really is ugly. The plank, the plankton marine life. The plankton based marine life is dying.
Farron Cousins: Yep.
Mike Papantonio: And as it dies, it’s part of the, it’s part of the structure. It’s, it’s part of that entire field of structure. Plankton to the next level, to the next level, to the next level. You destroy the plankton and you’re destroying the very heart of the feeding process that takes place in the Gulf of Mexico. What’s interesting is when the litigation was going on, the government was asked straight up, what are the long terms? What are the long term problems? And the government scientists that were trying to make this whole thing go away said, oh no, we don’t really have to worry about it after we take care of this first round and the first round really was just to make the oil disappear and they made it disappear with something that was even worse than the oil.
Farron Cousins: Right, and what they found with this new study was that oil that had sunk below the surface, and in some cases just a couple of feet below the surface, they weren’t able to detect it with the satellite imagery. So they looked at the satellite images and said, oh, we don’t see oil here, therefore it does not exist. Well, you have to dig a little below the surface and what they found was that the oil had actually, some of it, went to the floor of the Gulf of Mexico where it continued this cycle, the researchers have now said, of rising and falling and rising and falling.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah.
Farron Cousins: And the rest of it ended up in the big current, you know, through the coast of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, down to the tip of Florida. Then all the way back into the currents hitting Texas, almost like this horrible oil, oil hurricane in this endless cycle.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah, it’s the current loop is the way they describe it. It’s, it’s waves. It’s a loop current that does it. And the truth is that we’re talking about 210 million gallons of oil. The prediction is if you follow this report, that 50%, 50% of marine life will be decimated by this as it moves through the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Arctic. This is a big story and it’s another case where the government was trying to protect corporate interests by having the government scientists take the side of corporate interests.
Farron Cousins: Well and let me just add real quick because I did the math on this. Based on the original estimates, the low number estimates that we now know are about 30% too low, we’re looking at 2,270 gallons of oil per square mile in the Gulf of Mexico and you add about 30% onto that and that’s where we are ten years later.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah, this, and this is called thin oil. You, some of it you don’t even see.
Mike Papantonio: E-cigarette maker JUUL has been busted advertising on websites for children blowing a hole in their defense against numerous lawsuits that have been brought. We’ve brought lawsuits ourselves. Talk about this case a little bit.
Farron Cousins: Well, JUUL has maintained forever that we’re not advertising towards children. We’re not marketing to kids. You know, that’s just a happy accident, I guess. But turns out they have been actively advertising on websites that are specifically designed for children only. I mean, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Seventeen. I mean, Seventeen, you’re not even old enough according to the title of the website. But that is what JUUL has been doing. They are the new big tobacco. It’s big tobacco 2.0. It’s the digital version of it. And they’re engaging in the same kind of techniques that we saw through the tobacco litigation. JUUL is no different. Their defense is no different and I think their fate is going to be the same.
Mike Papantonio: The bottom line is this. Here’s what we know from the documents. This is not really about JUUL, you know, and the puffer machine. This is about trying to get kids back to traditional tobacco. What we learn, we, full disclosure again, we handled the first tobacco cases in America. And so what we learned was that the, what ends up happening is the documents show that they tried to get kids hooked by the time they’re 14 or 15 to nicotine and cigarettes, traditional tobacco. If they can do that, then that is a loyal customer for the rest of their lives until they die of cancer, till they die of heart disease. That, the documents are overwhelmingly clear about that. As we look at this, it’s a little uglier because they’re going after just instead of the Marlboro man, they’re going after kids, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Seventeen magazine, no question about it. They’re adding in fruit flavors, olly olly orange, you know, goofy grape stuff like that, Michael mango. And you go, really? I mean, what, and at the same time, the guy running the program for JUUL is an ex employee, high management for traditional tobacco. So I mean, we see it.
Farron Cousins: Yeah.
Mike Papantonio: It, we see what’s coming, don’t we?
Farron Cousins: It’s, it’s the same story, just modernized for a new audience. And unfortunately a lot of these people who will go out there and defend JUUL and defend vaping, you know.
Mike Papantonio: Oh, they hate us.
Farron Cousins: Like their life depends on it.
Mike Papantonio: My God, when we do a story on this, every knucklehead in the world comes out talking about, oh, this is, this is a wonderful invention because it’s going to save us from tobacco.
Farron Cousins: Yeah.
Mike Papantonio: No, it’s gonna kill you another way. But ultimately they don’t get, they’re trying to move people back to traditional tobacco by getting them hooked on nicotine right off the top.
Farron Cousins: Right, and they’re just being duped and doing the talking points for companies like JUUL.
Mike Papantonio: So, knuckleheads, keep the comments coming. Look, thanks, thanks for joining me. Okay.
Farron Cousins: Thank you.