Feds Accuse BP of ‘Gross Negligence’ in Gulf Oil Spill
Justice Department disputes claims by BP that region is recovering
The ongoing investigation into the cause of and reaction to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 is seeing the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) continue its hard stand against the fuel company, with newly released court documents condemning BP for what it is calling “gross negligence.”
Swiss-based Transocean Ltd, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon platform that caused the spill, is also named by U.S. officials as being responsible alongside BP for a series of testing errors that proved to be costly after a methane gas explosion rocked the rig in question as it dug more than a mile deep off of the coast of Louisiana. The resulting damage would cause the rig to sink within 48 hours, leaving an open well that proceeded to gush more than 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico over an 87-day span.
BP claims that the region has since exhibited signs of promising resilience, but the DOJ is urging the judge in the case to carefully weigh claims made by the oil company concerning the recovery of life in the affected area.
“While it is true that many resources are in a better condition than at the height of the spill — after all, they are no longer slathered in layers of BP’s oil — it is also true they continue to suffer significant harm from the spill, and it is not possible at this time to conclude that they have recovered, despite the information that BP presents.”
These latest documents, put together by the DOJ in its battle to hold BP financially responsible for the largest oil spill in American history, accuses both companies of “gross negligence and willful misconduct” in its assessment of the events leading up to and following the explosion.
The DOJ’s case against BP will proceed in January 2013 if a settlement is not reached by that time; a finding of gross negligence in this trial could see BP pay the U.S. government up to $21 billion to cover expenses and losses incurred in the spill and its clean-up.