Alaska seeking civil penalties for BP oil spills

[JURIST] Alaskan state officials said Wednesday that they are presently building a civil case against oil giant BP [corporate website] for two oil spills in Prudhoe Bay in March and August of 2006. The announcement by the environmental division of the Alaska Department of Law [official website] comes less than a week after BP subsidiary BP Exploration Alaska (BPXA) pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to violating the Clean Water Act [text] with the March 2006 spill. Both spills resulted from ruptured oil pipelines, stemming from BP's failure to properly inspect and maintain the pipes. The civil suit will include claims not only for environmental damages to state land, but also for lost revenue to the state. Approximately 85 percent of the state's general funding comes from oil company income taxes, and BP was forced to cut production immediately following the spills.

As part of BPXA's plea agreement [PDF text] on the federal charges, the company will pay $20 million in fines and restitution for the spill of an estimated 134,000 to 267,000 gallons of crude oil on Alaska's North Slope, the largest spill ever in that region [BBC report]. It is unknown when Alaska will file its civil suit. AP has more.

 

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