The story of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has just about disappeared from general news coverage following the capping of the well a few months ago. But the next chapter in this story is just beginning.
The U.S. Justice Department has filed a civil lawsuit against nine companies in connection with the spill. The lawsuit asks for civil penalties under the Clean Water Act and to declare eight companies liable without limitation under the Oil Pollution Act for costs and damages.
In the complaint, the U.S. alleges violations of federal safety and operational regulations, including failure to:
- use the best available and safest drilling technology to monitor the well’s conditions, and
- use and maintain equipment and material that were available and necessary to ensure the safety and protection of personnel, equipment, natural resources and the environment.
The Justice Department’s criminal and civil investigations continue.
Attorney General Eric Holder said this civil lawsuit is by no means a final step. Holder said, “We will not hesitate to take whatever steps are necessary to hold accountable those responsible for this spill.”
The rig explosion killed 11 workers.