BP faces two civil cases over Alaskan oil spills

Federal and state claims launched over Prudhoe Bay pipeline leaks in 2006

Both the US federal government and the State of Alaska filed civil cases against BP yesterday over oil spills at Prudhoe Bay in 2006.

The US Justice Department accusation maintains that the energy giant illegally discharged more than 200,000 gallons of oil from its pipelines, and failed to prepare and implement adequate spill prevention measures required under the Clean Water Act.

BP has already pleaded guilty to misdemeanour in a criminal action, resulting in a $12m (£8.3m) fine, three years' probation and $8m in other costs, in October 2007. The Justice Department is now seeking civil penalties "up to the maximum amount authorised by law," a statement issued yesterday said. The complaint also accuses BP of improperly removing asbestos-containing materials from its facilities and non-timely compliance with a federal order for tests, inspection and repairs.

The state of Alaska is filing a second civil claim on the matter, alleging environmental violations and calling for "just compensation for state revenues lost as a result of BP's negligent corrosion prevention practices", a statement said. The state estimates revenues from some 35 million barrels of oil were lost because the spills themselves, and the resulting pipeline replacement programme, reduced production significantly for more than two years.

BP said it had no comment on the legal issues yesterday. "We've taken significant steps to ensure that our operations are safe and reliable and protect the environment," a spokesman for the company said. "These include building a new $500m system of oil transit lines at Prudhoe Bay."

The leaks in March and August 2006 were caused by corrosion in the pipelines moving oil around the facilities on the North Slope of Alaska.

BP has a chequered history in the US. The fines already paid for the Prudhoe Bay spills were set extra-high because of BP's past history of environmental violations on the North Slope. In 1999, the company admitted dumping hazardous waste at its Endicott Field in the region, and was fined $7m.

In 2007, the group's US products business pleaded guilty to a felony, and was fined $50m, for safety failures at the Texas City refinery relating to an explosion in 2005 that killed 15 workers and injured hundreds more. In the same year, BP America entered a deferred prosecution agreement with the US Justice Department under which it admitted the manipulation of propane prices on two occasions in 2003 and 2004. The company paid fines of more than $304m to settle the case.

Meanwhile, BP also announced yesterday that it is to axe more than a quarter of its solar power workforce. Some 620 jobs will go, 480 of them with the closure of two cell manufacture and module assembly plants in Spain, and another 140 from a module assembly facility in Maryland in the US.

Reyad Fezzani, the chief executive of BP Solar, said: "This comes at a time when solar markets are unsettled by the impact of the global economic environment, an over-supplied market, increased competition and rapidly falling prices."

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
Arts and Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio talks during the press conference for the film
films

Film follows park rangers in the Congo

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
i100
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Adel Taraabt in action for QPR against West Ham earlier this month
footballQPR boss says midfielder is 'not fit to play football'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Administrator

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Admini...

Customer Service Executive / Inbound Customer Service Agent

£18 - 23k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Customer Service Executiv...

ASP.NET Web Developer / .NET Developer

£60 - 65k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a ASP.NET Web Developer / ....

Operational Risk Manager - Asset Management

£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album