BP accused of gross negligence in US spill

Sep 05, 2012
An American flag lays in a slick of oil that washed ashore from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on July 4, 2010 in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The US Justice Department has accused oil giant BP of "gross negligence and willful misconduct" in the massive 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, in court documents obtained Wednesday.

The US Justice Department has accused oil giant BP of "gross negligence and willful misconduct" in the massive 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, in court documents obtained Wednesday.

In its strongest language yet against BP, the Justice Department leveled the accusation in a 39-page document filed with a in Louisiana, in response to a proposed $7.8 billion settlement between the oil company and victims of the disaster.

It accused the British company of promoting a "culture of corporate recklessness," and accused it of giving the court a "misleading presentation" of the explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon offshore platform.

"BP did not act alone, by any means, and its gross negligence and willful misconduct are inextricably joined with the acts and omissions of ," it said, referring to the owner of the offshore rig.

An oil cleanup worker uses a shovel to remove thick oil that washed ashore from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on July 1, 2010 in Gulfport, Mississippi. The US Justice Department has accused oil giant BP of "gross negligence and willful misconduct" in the massive 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, in court documents obtained Wednesday.

But it said, "The behavior, words, and actions of these BP executives would not be tolerated in a middling size company manufacturing dry goods for sale in a suburban mall."

An explosion on April 20, 2010 killed 11 workers and ultimately sank the rig, unleashing the biggest marine oil spill in the industry's history and what many consider the worst US environmental disaster ever.

BP reached an agreement in April to settle claims from fishermen and others affected by the disaster for $7.8 billion, but it must be approved by a and does not affect claims brought by the government.

In its filing, the Justice Department said it was not giving an opinion one way or another on the proposed settlement, but used the opportunity to challenge BP's version of events.

"The court should ignore BP's one-sided argument that the natural resources of the Gulf are undergoing a robust recovery," it said.

"BP's cherry-picked assertions of robust recovery are at best premature judgments on the health of the overall Gulf ecosystem."

Explore further: Muddy forests, shorter winters present challenges for loggers

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US may file civil complaint against BP over Gulf spill

Sep 15, 2010

The US government has said in a Louisiana court it is considering filing a civil complaint against BP under the Clean Water Act to claim 1,100 dollars for each barrel of oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP says US oil spill trial could 'last until 2014'

Feb 26, 2012

British energy giant BP is prepared for a multi-billion-dollar US legal case into the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill to last until 2014, its chief executive told the Sunday Telegraph.

BP seals $7.8 bn settlement in US oil spill

Apr 18, 2012

Oil giant BP said Wednesday it has finalized a $7.8 billion deal to settle thousands of claims from fishermen and others affected by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

BP sues Gulf rig firm, shifting blame for oil spill

Apr 21, 2011

BP is taking legal action to shift the blame for the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster which devastated the environment and the group's image a year ago, suing rig operator Transocean for damages of $40 billion ...

US eyes first BP criminal charges over Gulf spill: WSJ

Dec 29, 2011

US prosecutors are readying criminal charges against British oil giant BP employees over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident that led to the catastrophic Gulf oil spill, The Wall Street Journal reported online.

Recommended for you

Rising anger as Nicaragua canal to break ground

Dec 21, 2014

As a conscripted soldier during the Contra War of the 1980s, Esteban Ruiz used to flee from battles because he didn't want to have to kill anyone. But now, as the 47-year-old farmer prepares to fight for ...

Hopes, fears, doubts surround Cuba's oil future

Dec 20, 2014

One of the most prolific oil and gas basins on the planet sits just off Cuba's northwest coast, and the thaw in relations with the United States is giving rise to hopes that Cuba can now get in on the action.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Caliban
not rated yet Sep 05, 2012
This story is very short on details.

Is this just some sort of friend-of-the-court filing, or does it indicate some broader intent on the part of the Justice Department to not only prosecute BP in Federal Court, but also push for more stringent remedies at the state level?

A mystery, to be sure, but a very interesting one...

Howhot
not rated yet Sep 06, 2012
Its is what it says; BP just screwed up and had calculated that as part of their risk. Drilling always has risk. but with deep-sea drilling it's even higher. BP should be prosecuted for lying about what they would do if something went wrong that had long term consequences to the population effected.

Humans have courts where these grievances can be debated. What about all of the life that has been killed in the Gulf?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.