New Orleans Judge Picked to Handle Gulf Spill Suit
RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
We may also have to look years into the future to see the end of another news story on the Gulf Coast. It's the aftermath of the BP oil spill. Hundreds of lawsuits were filed against BP and other companies. Back in May, our own Wade Goodwyn described the legal maneuvering this way.
WADE GOODWYN: Think of the legal actions spreading across the south like the oil spill itself. It begins in Louisiana, but inexorably moves east as shrimpers, oystermen, sport fishermen, hotels, restaurants, condominium owners - indeed, the entire Gulf Coast economy - watches the oil wash up on shore and their summer wash out.
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
That was the spreading legal action as it looked in May. Now, a court has agreed to put something of a containment dome over the lawsuits. All 300 lawsuits have been consolidated into one court.
MONTAGNE: A federal panel says the cases will be heard before a single U.S. district court. BP had been hoping the venue would be Houston, but the court put the cases in New Orleans.
INSKEEP: Out of the Gulf waters, more than 50,000 square miles remain closed to fishing. It's not clear how long that will last. But a portion of those waters - about 5,000 square miles - were reopened this week.
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