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U.S. seeks justice

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The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burns April 15 in the Gulf of Mexico. The Justice Department on Wednesday sued BP and eight other companies in the Gulf oil spill disaster in an effort to recover billions of dollars from the largest offshore spill in U.S. history.

dailyworld.com

By The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — The Justice Department sued BP and several other companies involved in the Gulf oil spill Wednesday, an opening salvo in the government’s effort to get billions of dollars for untold economic and environmental damage.

The government accuses the companies of disregarding federal safety regulations in drilling the well that blew out April 20 and triggered a deadly explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig. The lawsuit is separate from a Justice Department criminal probe that has not resulted in any charges.

“The department’s focus on investigating this disaster and preventing future (spills) is not over,” Attorney General Eric Holder said during a news conference in Washington. “Both our civil and criminal investigations are ongoing.”

The federal lawsuit filed in New Orleans names BP, rig owner Transocean and some other companies involved in the ill-fated drilling project, but not Halliburton — the project’s cement contractor — or the maker of a key cutoff valve that failed. Both could be added later.

BP said it would respond to the claims at a later date but noted that it stands “alone among the parties” in having already stepped up to pay for the cleanup. It said in a statement that it will continue to fulfill its commitments to the Gulf and to cooperate with ongoing investigations.

“The filing is solely a statement of the government’s allegations and does not in any manner constitute any finding of liability or any judicial finding that the allegations have merit,” BP said.

The lawsuit makes it possible for the federal government to seek billions of dollars in penalties for polluting the Gulf of Mexico, beaches and wetlands, and reimbursement for its cleanup costs. More than 300 lawsuits filed previously by individuals and businesses, and now consolidated in the New Orleans federal court, include claims for financial losses and compensation for the families of 11 workers killed in the blast.

The judge overseeing those lawsuits had set Wednesday as the deadline to file certain types of complaints, though it was unclear whether the government was bound by that time frame.

To read full article: http://www.dailyworld.com/article/20101216/NEWS01/12160306/U-S-seeks-justice

 

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Written by demon53

December 16, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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