BP sues US Environmental Protection Agency

The British oil and gas major claimed that agency’s ban on new federal contracts is causing it an irreparable harm.

New Statesman
BP logo. Photograph: Getty Images.

BP has slapped a lawsuit against the US Environmental Protection Agency  for continuing to impose a ban on awarding new federal deals to the firm even though it pleaded guilty to charges of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill incident back in 2010.

The incident, claimed to be the largest oil spill in the US history, leaked millions of barrels of oil into the sea and killed 11 workers.

EPA imposed ban on the company in November 2012, allegedly due to "lack of business integrity" over the handling of the oil spill disaster.

Geoff Morrell, head of US communications at BP, was quoted by Reuters as saying: "We believe that the EPA’s action here is inappropriate and unjustified as a matter of law and policy, and we are pursuing our right to seek relief in federal court. At the same time, we remain open to a reasonable settlement with the EPA."

Demanding that the ban on new contracts be lifted, BP said that the US government continued to purchase fuel from the firm even after the incident.

BP alleged that a ban on the firm is unlawful, and that it would face an irreparable harm if an injunction is not granted on this issue.

In a court filing, BP claimed that EPA’s suspension is not temporary and there is no pending agency investigation or legal proceedings that allow the ban to continue.

According to the firm, the ban affects its 21 subsidiaries, which were not related to the spill.

This lawsuit, which was filed in the US District Court of Southern Texas, comes only two weeks after BP chief Bob Dudley said that the EPA ban is not worrying in any way.

The company has already agreed for a $4.5bn settlement with the US Department of Justice to resolve criminal charges related to the incident.

BP is currently paying out millions of dollars that was set aside as compensation for victims of the incident.

The EPA ban, however, does not affect the existing contracts, which are estimated to be over $1.34bn.

Currently, BP operates over 700 oil and gas exploration blocks in the Gulf of Mexico.