December 29, 2010- The Obama administration announced that it was suing BP, in addition to Anadarko of the US and Mitsui of Japan, its accomplices in the catastrophic Macondo well; Transocean, proprietor of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig; and the QBE syndicate 1036 at Lloyd’s of London, which had insured the off shore drilling rig.
The lawsuit, which was filed at a federal court in New Orleans, is the first brought forward by the U.S. government over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused by an explosion of the Deepwater Horizon off shore rig in April of this year. The Justice Department’s civil probe is moving forward, as is an investigation of possible criminal charges.
The civil lawsuit pursues damages under the Clean Water Act and to attest that four of the defendants are liable for all removal costs and damages caused by the oil spill under the Oil Pollution Act. This would also include environmental damage, according to a statement by the Justice Department.
The action does not ask for specific damages, however, the possible penalties under just one of the laws named – the Clean Water Act – could reach $21 billion dollars, based on the number of oil barrels that were emptied into the Gulf.
The US government also seeks an admission that the defendants are responsible for “unlimited removal costs and damages” under the 1990 Oil Pollution Act, which was passed after the devastating Alaskan Exxon Valdez spill.