For Immediate Release
Kieran Suckling, (520) 275-5960
Lawsuit Seeks $19 billion in Clean Water Act Penalties from BP
NEW ORLEANS - In the largest citizen enforcement action ever taken
under the Clean Water Act, the Center for Biological Diversity today sued BP
and Transocean Ltd., for illegally spewing more than 100 million gallons of oil
and other toxic pollutants into the Gulf of Mexico. The suit was filed in
federal court in New Orleans.
The Center is seeking the maximum possibly penalty against BP. If
BP’s violations are found to have been the result of gross negligence or
willful misconduct, the maximum fine is $4,300 per barrel spilled. At this
rate, the company is already liable for approximately $11 billion in Clean
Water Act penalties. If the spill continues through August 1, 2010, BP’s
liability will be approximately $19 billion.
The penalties will be paid to the U.S. treasury and will be available for
Gulf Coast restoration efforts.
“The government has yet to take any criminal or civil actions
against BP,” said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for
Biological Diversity. “We filed this suit to ensure BP is held
accountable for every drop of oil and pollution it has released into the Gulf
of Mexico. We can’t bring back dead sea turtles, dolphins and whales, but
we can ensure BP is penalized to the full extent of the law for causing the
worst environmental disaster in American history.”
The Center’s lawsuit also seeks a full and honest accounting from
BP of how much oil is gushing into the Gulf each day and what toxic pollutants
are mixed in with the oil. In addition to the oil, the spill is also leaking hazardous
chemicals including benzene, arsenic and naphthalene.
“Gulf residents, cleanup crews, wildlife officials and the
American public have a right to know to the magnitude and danger of this
spill,” said Suckling. “The company hasn’t been forthright
even in the face of public outrage. A judge’s order will change all that.
Until then, we’re flying blind when it comes to protecting human health
and the environment.”
The Center is represented by Charlie Tebbutt of Eugene, Oregon, Marc
Fink, a staff attorney with the Center, and Damon Kirin of Metairie, Louisiana.
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