US files suit against ATP charging illegal oil release

WASHINGTON Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:36pm EST

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WASHINGTON Feb 11 (Reuters) - The U.S. government filed a lawsuit against bankrupt ATP Oil and Gas Corp on Monday, charging that the company illegally discharged oil and unpermitted chemical dispersants into the Gulf of Mexico.

The alleged violations were discovered during an inspection of an ATP oil and gas production platform in March 2012 by the Interior Department's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

A BSEE investigation found that ATP did not properly operate and maintain its wastewater treatment system on the ATP Innovator platform.

The government said in its complaint that excess oil was released into the ocean and an unauthorized chemical dispersant was used to mask the oil.

The dispersant was used from at least October 2010 to March 2012, the complaint said.

ATP filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last August. The company could not be reached immediately for comment.

The government said it seeking civil penalties under the Clean Water Act and injunctive relief for violations of the act.

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

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