WASHINGTON, Sept 4 The U.S. Justice Department
is ramping up its rhetoric against BP PLC for the massive
2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, laying out in a new court
filing examples of what it calls "gross negligence and willful
The filing is the sharpest position yet taken by the U.S.
government as it seeks to hold the British oil giant largely
responsible for the largest oil spill in U.S. history.
"The behavior, words, and actions of these BP executives
would not be tolerated in a middling size company manufacturing
dry goods for sale in a suburban mall," government lawyers wrote
in the filing on Aug. 31 in federal court in New Orleans.
The government lawyers wrote that they decided to elaborate
on BP's alleged gross negligence because they believed BP was
trying to persuade a federal judge to exonerate the company.
The oil spill started in April 2010 when an explosion
destroyed the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and killed 11
workers. Some analysts have put the cost of the spill at $60
billion or more.
Spokespeople for BP did not respond to a request for comment
late on Tuesday.