For Immediate Release, December 15, 2010
Contact: Charlie Tebbutt, (541) 344-3505 or (541) 285-3717
Federal Government Files Clean Water Act Lawsuit Against BP
Suit Is First Against BP Focusing on Clean Water Act Violations Since
Center for Biological Diversity's $19 Billion Suit in June
NEW ORLEANS— The federal government today filed suit against BP under the Clean Water Act and other laws, seeking civil penalties for the discharge of millions of gallons of oil and other pollutants into the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon explosion. The lawsuit will join hundreds of other lawsuits over the Gulf oil spill disaster, including the Center for Biological Diversity’s $19 billion Clean Water Act, suit filed against the oil giant in June.
“We’ve been waiting for months for the federal government to file suit against BP for the devastating oil spill in the Gulf,” said Charlie Tebbutt, attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity. “With all the players now at the table, we look forward to co-prosecuting this case with the federal government to hold BP accountable for the worst environmental disaster in American history.”
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20 in the Gulf of Mexico, killing eleven crew members and unleashing the largest oil spill in U.S. history. The Center filed suit under the Clean Water Act on June 18, which until today’s filing by the federal government was the only lawsuit against BP focused on enforcement and penalties under the Act.
The Center is seeking the maximum penalties possible against BP, which could total close to $20 billion. The penalties would be paid to the U.S. Treasury and could be used to help clean up and restore the Gulf of Mexico.
The disaster spilled 206 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and killed more than 6,100 birds; about 600 sea turtles; and about 100 mammals, including dolphins.
“Our intentions remain the same: to ensure that BP is penalized to the full extent of the law, and to ensure that the penalties paid by BP are used to clean up and fully restore the Gulf of Mexico,” said Tebbutt.