Justice Department Urges Judge to Maintain BP Contracts Suspension

A Louisiana wildlife official displays oil from a marsh on April 19, 2011 at Middle Ground in southern Louisiana. A year after the BP oil spill coated Gulf coast beaches and marshes, BP claims that most of the oil has been removed. Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries says, however, that much of the coastal cleaning has been superficial, as the oil has seeped into the soil, killing marshes and further eroding the state's damaged Mississippi Delta ecosystem.
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Ben Geman
Jan. 29, 2014, 3:33 a.m.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is press­ing a fed­er­al court to con­tin­ue BP’s sus­pen­sion from re­ceiv­ing new fed­er­al con­tracts, ar­guing the oil gi­ant hasn’t shown that it’s a re­spons­ible con­tract­or, Bloomberg re­ports.

Fed­er­al of­fi­cials, cit­ing a “lack of busi­ness in­teg­rity,” froze BP’s eli­gib­il­ity to win new pro­cure­ment con­tracts in 2012 after the com­pany agreed to plead guilty to crim­in­al charges stem­ming from the fatal 2010 Gulf of Mex­ico well blo­wout and oil spill.

The com­pany has gone to court to over­turn the sus­pen­sion. Bloomberg re­ports that a seni­or Justice De­part­ment at­tor­ney, in a court fil­ing Tues­day, said “BP’s latest round of plans and prom­ises is in­suf­fi­cient to demon­strate that BP is a re­spons­ible fed­er­al con­tract­or.”

Robert G. Dre­her, act­ing as­sist­ant at­tor­ney gen­er­al of the Justice De­part­ment’s En­vir­on­ment Di­vi­sion, cited the fatal 2005 ex­plo­sion at a BP re­finery in Texas City. “BP had pre­vi­ously been al­lowed to con­tin­ue do­ing busi­ness with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment even after its af­fil­i­ates were con­victed of en­vir­on­ment­al vi­ol­a­tions based on prom­ises that ad­equate sys­tem­ic cor­rect­ive meas­ures would be taken—and yet those meas­ures had proved in­suf­fi­cient,” he wrote in a fil­ing with a fed­er­al court in Hou­s­ton, ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg.


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