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Justice may sue BP over oil spill in gulf

Justice may sue BP over oil spill in gulf
A frame grab of a live video stream of operations to stop the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is seen on June 24, 2010. The Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion on April 20 that caused a massive oil spill and killed 11 workers continued to spill oil into the Gulf of Mexico until July 15. UPI/BP

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. Justice Department said it expects to sue BP for damages from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, papers filed with a federal court indicate.

In the filing made Monday with the U.S. District Court in New Orleans, federal attorneys said it may seek claims under the Oil Pollution Act and the Clean Water Act, CNN reported.

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The Oil Pollution Act was adopted in 1990 after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska and the Clean Water Act gives the government the right to seek potentially massive penalties.

The crippled BP well spewed an estimated 206 million gallons of crude into the gulf between April 20 -- when an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 workers before sinking two days later -- and July 15, when the well was temporarily capped.

Meanwhile, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation in Louisiana said only 160 of the 8,000 people who worked on the 33 deepwater rigs banned from drilling in the wake of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico applied for aid from a $100 million fund established by BP, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported Tuesday.

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The deadline for the first first round of applications is Sept. 30. It is limited to workers employed on the 33 deepwater exploratory drilling rigs operating in the gulf on May 28 when President Obama announced the moratorium.

Most deepwater drillers kept their crews intact, performing maintenance and upkeep during the stoppage, data from the foundation, which administers the fund, indicated.

Rig workers have been furloughed or laid off on shallow-water rigs, The Times-Picayune said. Shallow-water rig workers are ineligible for the first round of awards from the BP fund because the moratorium doesn't affect them, the foundation said.

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