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Environmental Law

Report: BP Warned by Gov’t Agencies, Vinson & Elkins of Potential Issues at Multiple Sites

Posted Jun 8, 2010 11:47 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Government investigators, lawsuits and a law firm's internal investigation have reportedly alleged an ongoing series of issues with maintenance and noncompliance with regulatory requirements at BP facilities in various United States locations.

A lack of maintenance, inaccurate claims of compliance with regulatory standards and pressure on workers who report problems are common themes in these allegations, many of which focus on the company's Alaska operations, reports a lengthy ProPublica article published by the Washington Post. The article is based in part on internal company documents from 2001, 2004 and 2007 that were provided by an unidentified source.

A Vinson & Elkins internal report in 2004 documented pipeline corrosion issues on Alaska's North Slope, according to the article.

Similar concerns about claimed lackadaisical governmental regulatory oversight and a lack of due care and planning for potential emergencies have been raised concerning the ongoing undersea oil spill from a BP test well in the Gulf of Mexico following an explosion and fire at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20.

"They are a recurring environmental criminal and they do not follow U.S. health safety and environmental policy," attorney Jeanne Pascal told ProPublica. She formerly worked for the federal Environmental Protection Agency and led investigations of BP there.

However, a company spokesman says BP is working to improve safety at every company site, and BP's current chief executive, Tony Hayward, has committed himself to reform since taking the helm in 2007, the article also says.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Federal Criminal and Civil Probes into Gulf Oil Spill Are Under Way, Holder Says"

ABAJournal.com: "OSHA Hits BP Refinery With Monster $87.4M Fine; 15 Died in 2005 Explosion"

ABAJournal.com: "BP Facing Familiar Nemesis: PI Lawyer Brent Coon"

60 Minutes: "Blowout: The Deepwater Horizon Disaster"

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