Claims and Litigation

Rest. and Oil Removal

U.S. Civil Lawsuit

On Dec. 15, 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a civil lawsuit seeking a determination of liability under the Oil Pollution Act and civil penalties under the Clean Water Act.

Oil Pollution Act (OPA): The U.S. asked the court to find BP, Transocean entities, Anadarko entities, and MOEX liable under OPA for oil removal costs, assessment, and restoration.

Clean Water Act (CWA): The U.S. sought civil penalties from BP, Transocean entities, Anadarko entities, and MOEX for violations of the CWA.

How do natural resource damages and oil removal claims arise?

Natural Resource Damages (NRD)

Under OPA, natural resource trustees can recover from parties responsible for the spill the costs of restoring natural resources damaged by the spill, lost use of the natural resources, and costs of assessing the damage.

For more about the status of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment, visit our Natural Resource Damage Assessment page.

Oil Removal

Under OPA, the parties responsible for the spill must pay for the costs of removing oil. To the extent that they do not remove the oil themselves, they must reimburse those who do. For example, federal and state governments and Indian tribes who assist in oil removal can recover removal costs. Others may also recover removal costs if their actions were consistent with the National Contingency Plan, which the federal government calls its blueprint for responding to oil spills.

Who are the responsible parties?

On Dec. 8, 2011, the U.S. filed a motion asking the court to find, among other things, that BP, Anadarko, and Transocean are liable under OPA. On Feb. 22, 2012, the district court determined that BP and Anadarko are “responsible parties,” and therefore liable for removal costs, assessment, and restoration under OPA. The court also determined that Transocean was not a responsible party, but might still be liable for removal costs.

What is the status of oil removal and restoration?

Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA)

Federal and state trustees are in the process of assessing the extent of injuries to natural resources and developing a restoration plan. In the meantime, under a voluntary agreement with the trustees, BP has agreed to fund up to $1 billion in early restoration, which allows certain restoration projects to begin before the assessment is complete.

Oil Removal

In June 2013, BP and the U.S. Coast Guard announced that they were winding down active oil removal operations in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. In Louisiana, oil removal is ongoing for wetlands and nearly 100 miles of coast. In April 2014, a similar announcement was made for Louisiana

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DISCLAIMER: This overview is prepared for informational purposes only to inform individuals who are not involved in the litigation. It is not prepared for litigation and is not legal advice. Individuals with potential claims should consult with their own attorney. The information on this page is current as of September 2014.