BP brought to court over 2009 oil spill

Little more than a year-and-a-half after the catastrophic explosion at its offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, BP is back under regulatory scrutiny. Bloomberg reports that the federal government is seeking action against BP for its role in a oil pipeline leak that occurred two years ago in Alaska.

The pipeline running to its oil field on Prudhoe Bay burst in November 2009 when water inside the pipes froze, over-pressurizing the system. The two-foot hole that resulted spilled around 13,500 gallons of oil near the bay before the pipeline could be shut down.

However, while the incident would have resulted in no regulatory action on its own, BP was on probation at the time as a result of another oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2006, to which it pled guilty to violations of the Clean Water Act. Despite protestations that the spill resulted in no regulatory violations because no oil entered the water, regulators nonetheless asked the courts to revoke the company's probation. On Tuesday, November 29, the two sides finally came before the court to argue their respective cases.

The Alaska Dispatch notes that the crucial argument in the case revolves around BP's supposed failure to properly monitor their oil pipelines and account for regular seasonal variations.


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