TEXAS CITY, Texas For many people, it s staggering how many people suing BP about a 40-day emissions event that released more than 500,000 pounds of chemicals in April and May 2010.

In fact, if the 53,800 people who have filed lawsuits were to incorporate their own city, it would be the second largest city in Galveston County.

The plaintiffs and their attorneys have been the focus of ridicule in online postings and letters to the editor calling them opportunists with no proof of injury.

They ve had their supporters, too albeit not as vocal noting BP s track record on safety and its pattern of less than forthcoming statements about risks to workers and the community.

Pro-industry commentators suggest that one of the reasons BP is considering selling its Texas City refinery is because of ongoing litigation.

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