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."

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User comments : 2

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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?

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