British Petroleum is claiming in a civil suit that it's pretty much done cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico after its massive spill two years ago. The federal government's response: Fuck that.
In November, Louisiana Eastern District Court judge Carl Barbier will decide if BP's proposed final damages settlement for those affected by the Deepwater Horizon explosion (pictured above) is adequate. To make its case, the company filed a motion a few weeks ago arguing that the scope of damage was assessed and that substantial progress had been made.
Late last week, as noted by New Orleans attorney Stuart Smith, the government filed an objection [PDF], even though it's not a party to the case. The Department of Justice's filing is harsh, gutting the BP motion and leaving its entrails in the open air. DOJ suggests that it would normally have been “unlikely” to get involved, but “[t]hat changed … as a result of arguments, new evidence, and plainly misleading representations in BP’s papers” concerning liability and damage to natural resources. The government is concerned that if BP's overly rosy assessment is allowed to stand, that would, as Smith puts it, “put a legal seal of approval on what they consider to be false or misleading claims by the oil company," which could hurt separate criminal and civil cases that the federal government is pursuing itself.