California watching as oil giant BP rights EPA restrictions

August 29, 2013

BP may have been responsible for dumping more than 200 million gallons of oil into pristine waters in 2010, but the company is only now fighting its legal ramifications. California environmental activists and business litigation experts alike are watching closely as the company tries to counter a new Environmental Protection Agency ban stemming from the Gulf of Mexico disaster. BP is challenging a temporary moratorium against getting any new U.S. leases or government contracts for oil exploration.

British Petroleum, the second-largest oil company in Europe and one of the biggest in the world, filed suit in U.S. District Court to stop what it called the EPA's arbitrary, capricious and punitive abuse of the agency's discretion. It requested that the court lift the ban. For their part, EPA officials said that the ban was appropriate, given what they called BP's seriously improper conduct in preventing the Deep Horizons spill and dealing with its aftermath. The EPA said that the ban would stay in effect until BP showed that it could meet federal business standards.

Central to BP's claim of unfairness was the company's being granted contracts by the U.S. government for the 2 1/2 years between the disaster and the filing of the EPA ban. A business litigation expert said that such an action against a company as large as BP was extremely uncommon. The expert had earlier written a law journal article which called for a permanent ban against the company, due to its history of accidents.

International business litigation and domestic business disputes in California can be complex. An attorney experienced in business litigation may be able to help companies deal with unfair competition, intellectual property disputes and other important corporate law challenges. Such help may include rooting out fraud or deceptive trade practices.

Source: Huffington Post, "BP, EPA Spar Over Government Contract Suspension", Kate Sheppard, August 23, 2013