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BP should remain barred from US contracts, says DoJ
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BP should remain barred from US contracts, says DoJ

Department of Justice claims oil giant BP has not shown it is a "responsible" contractor

BP should remain barred from winning any new contracts with the American government because it has not demonstrated that it is a "responsible" contractor following the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the US Department of Justice has said.

The oil giant is fighting to overturn a decision made by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 2012, which banned all BP subsidiaries from pitching from any new contracts to supply or lease oil to the US government.

The suspension was imposed after BP's Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded in 2010, killing 11 workers and causing the biggest marine disaster in US history.

Robert Dreher, acting assistant attorney general for the US Department of Justice, said in a court filing this week that the EPA was "wholly reasonable" for coming to the conclusion that BP's "latest round of plans and promises is insufficient to demonstrate that BP is a responsible federal contractor".

The oil giant pleaded guilty a year ago to 11 counts of felony seaman's manslaughter, and one count of lying to Congress over the Deepwater Horizon disaster. It also admitted breaching pollution regulations, relating to the 2010 oil spill and a number of previous incidents.

BP sued the EPA last August, claiming that "the suspension of BP is unlawful, arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of EPA's discretion".

In a statement, the oil giant said: "As stated in our motion, BP believes that the EPA's disqualification and suspension decisions should be invalidated because they are arbitrary and capricious, contrary to the law, and an abuse of discretion.

"Importantly, the EPA had no basis to designate BPXP's headquarters in Houston as the "violating facility" under the relevant disqualification statute, nor can it make the required showing that 'immediate action' was necessary when it based the suspension on events that happened more than two-and-a-half years before the suspension, particularly when the government continued to do business with BP and repeatedly found it to be a responsible contractor."

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