NWC Demands Attorney General Hold the Offshore Oil Industry Liable for Fraud in the Gulf

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Lindsey M. Williams (202) 342-1903

lmw@whistleblowers.org

NWC Demands Attorney General Hold the Offshore Oil Industry Liable for Fraud in the Gulf

WASHINGTON - In a letter submitted to Attorney General Eric Holder
today, attorneys for the National Whistleblowers Center called on the
Department of Justice to investigate BP and the entire oil industry,
including contractors and subcontractors, for fraud committed against
the U.S. government. 

The False Claims Act is the most
powerful law available to deter fraud and enforce federal regulations,
like those that govern offshore drilling.  The letter states, "while the
purpose of the False Claims Act is not to protect the environment per
se, it is applicable in this case because it is intended to ensure
honesty and openness when companies do business with and obtain benefits
from the United States, such as a lease."
The letter continues:
Facts
already on the public record evidence that BP made misrepresentations
about its safety and emergency response procedures in order to operate
under leases from the United States and profit from offshore drilling. 
For example, the Associated Press reported a series of material
misrepresentations made by BP in both its Deepwater Horizon Plan and its
Regional Spill Plan.  These misrepresentations and false statements
include:
  • Vast overstatements of BP's
    preparedness to deal with a major leak;
  • Vast understatements of the dangers
    posed to the environment and the public by an uncontrolled leak;
  • False statements such as listing a
    national wildlife expert whom the company would rely upon for its
    compliance obligations even though this expert had died 4 years prior to
    the submission of the plan.
See
Justin Pritchard, et al "BP Spill response plans severely flawed," Associated Press (June 9, 2010)
These
statements, along with others reported in the national media, constitute
compelling evidence that BP violated the False Claims Act (See 31 USC §
3729 et. seq.) to obtain authorization to commence its drilling
operations under the lease for the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Under the
recently amended False Claims Act, all BP contractors and subcontractors
who participated in any manner in a violation of the Act would be
jointly and severally liable. The investigation into BP must include an
investigation into all its contractors and subcontractors.
The National Whistleblowers Center
continues to advocate for whistleblower protections for oil industry
employees, and urges members of the public to take action by sending letters to Congress
supporting best practice whistleblower policies.
Employees looking for legal advice
can contact the Attorney Referral Service of the National
Whistleblower Legal Defense & Education Fund.
Links:
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Since 1988, the NWC and attorneys associated with it have supported whistleblowers in the courts and before Congress and achieved victories for environmental protection, government contract fraud, nuclear safety and government and corporate accountability.

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