WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Showing BP was grossly negligent in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico should be a "clear-cut case," said an environmental advocate.
A two-phase civil trial to determine responsibility for the Deepwater Horizon disaster began Monday in federal court in New Orleans. The court is to determine fines for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act.
Eleven rig workers died April 20, 2010, when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank, leading to the industry's worst offshore oil spill. The U.S. Justice Department said it would try to show BP was negligent in its operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
Larry Schweiger, president and chief executive officer of the National Wildlife Federation, said the Gulf of Mexico is more than just a place for oil companies to try to reap profits.
"With everything we know about the corners BP cut and the risks the company took, this ought to be a clear-cut case of gross negligence," Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp said in a statement. "The outcome of this case needs to send a clear message to all companies who drill in our nation's waters: risky behavior is bad for business."
Rig owner Transocean, which leased the rig, and BP reached multibillion-dollar settlement agreements with the federal government.