WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- A move by the EPA to temporarily ban BP from new federal contracts sends a message to oil companies that safety comes first, an advocacy group said.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it barred BP from new federal contracts because of the company's "lack of business integrity." The EPA said the ban remains in force until BP can show that it's meeting governmental business standards.
The U.S. Justice Department on Nov. 15 filed a multiple-count charge against BP, which includes felony manslaughter charges, related to the Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The company also has agreed to pay $4 billion in fines and penalties.
John Kostyack, vice president for wildlife conservation of the National Wildlife Federation, said the EPA's decision sounds a "loud and clear message" to energy companies.
"The Environmental Protection Agency's move is a tough accountability measure designed to deter oil companies from cutting corners on safety and putting profits ahead of people, like BP did in the Gulf oil disaster," he said in a statement.
BP spokesman David Nicholas was quoted by The New York Times as saying the company is "working through a process demonstrating present responsibility."