US government files lawsuit against BP Exploration in Alaska

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The United States government has filed a civil lawsuit against BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. (BPXA) alleging that the company "violated federal clean air and water laws" by "illegally discharging" more than 200,000 gallons crude oil during two oil spills in 2006 on Alaska's North Slope in Prudhoe Bay.

BPXA previously pleaded guilty to one count of criminal negligence in illegally discharging the oil and paid US$20 million in damages. As a result of the plea, the lawsuit was filed saying that they "failed" to prepare for such a disaster by implementing "certain [sic] spill prevention measures" as the law requires.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the [DOT]-Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), alleges that BPXA "illegally discharged more than 200,000 gallons of crude oil from its pipelines" and "violated the Clean Air Act by improperly removing asbestos-containing materials from its pipelines" It also says that they "failed to comply in a timely manner with a corrective action order that the [DOT]-Pipeline and PHMSA issued to BPXA pursuant to federal pipeline safety laws."

According to the Associated Press (AP), BPXA spokespeople state that the company has taken certain measures, making sure daily operations are safe.

"We have taken significant steps to ensure that our operations are safe and reliable, and protect the environment. Those include building a new $500 million system of oil transit lines at Prudhoe Bay," said spokesman Steve Rinehart to the AP.

The spills were discovered on March 2, 2006 and covered nearly two acres. It was initially estimated that nearly 270,000 gallons had spilled. The official loss was put at 212,252 gallons.

BPXA, a subsidiary of BP America, specializes in exploring and finding locations to drill for oil, as well as drilling for it.


Sources

Wikipedia Learn more about the Prudhoe Bay oil spills on Wikipedia.
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