photo: US Coast Guard/Creative Commons
Saying that "violations of safety and operational regulations" led to the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon and the subsequent largest oil spill in US history, the US Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency have filed suit against BP and eight other firms, asking that they be held liable for all clean up and damage costs associated with the Gulf Oil Spill. Charged in the suit are BP exploration & Production Inc., Anadarko Exploration & Production LP, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, MOEX OFfshore 2007 LLC, Triton Asset Leasing GMBH, Transocean Holdings LLC, Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc., Transocean Deepwater Inc. and QBE Underwriting Ltd/Lloyd's Syndicate 1036.
Noticeably absent from the list are Halliburton and Cameron International--though the Department of Justice has said the investigation was still ongoing and more companies could be added to the suit.
The companies are charged under the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act.
BBC News sums up the accusations:
- Failing to take necessary precautions to keep the Macondo well under control in the period leading up to the 20 April explosion.
- Failing to use the best available and safest drilling technology to monitor the well's conditions.
- Failing to maintain continuous surveillance.
- Failing to use and maintain equipment and material that were available and necessary to ensure the safety and protection of personnel, equipment, natural resources, and the environment.
Calling it the first shot across BP's bow from the Obama administration, Rep. Ed Markey said, "As we've seen recently with BP's challenging of the flow rate determinations from their blown-out Macondo well, BP is already taking an aggressive stance to limit their own liability. It may have taken these companies months to cap their well, but they will spend years trying to cap their financial obligations to the people of the Gulf."
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More on the Gulf Oil Spill:
BP Gulf Oil Spill Officially the Worst in US History
Six Months Later, Stories of the Gulf Oil Spill Collected by NRDC & StoryCorps (Video)
Worst Damage From the BP Spill May Be Done in the Deep Sea