A federal judge today sided with BP Exploration in a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Government alleging two probation violations stemming from a 2009 oil spill. The Government alleged that BP violated conditions of probation stemming from a 2007 Clean Water act violation, after an oil line froze and split resulting in the spill. In his decision, Judge Ralph Beistline found that BP could not have known the pipe would freeze and break and acted responsibly in addressing and cleaning up the spill once it was discovered.
Beistline released BP from probation, but did have strong words at the end of his order, saying if a similar situation should occur in the future he would see the situation differently. He wrote “BP is now clearly on notice of the potential that a freeze up could occur within an 18 inch common line that is part of a looped line system and that a freeze up could cause the pipe to burst. It is incumbent upon BP to make sure this does not happen again.”
A BP spokesman says the company is pleased with the decision. A call to the U.S Attorney’s office was not returned by air time.
- Decision and Order (PDF)