Justice Department sends team to monitor oil spill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Attorney General Eric Holder said on Friday he was dispatching a team of lawyers to New Orleans to monitor the oil spill and that the Obama administration would vigorously enforce environmental laws.

“The Justice Department stands ready to make available every resource at our disposal to vigorously enforce the laws that protect the people who work and reside near the Gulf, the wildlife, the environment and the American taxpayers,” Holder said in a statement.

An explosion last week rocked the Deepwater Horizon floating drilling rig, which ultimately sank and led to thousands of barrels of crude oil leaking. It was owned and operated by Transocean Ltd which was finishing a well for BP Plc.

The assistant attorneys general for the Justice Department’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division and Civil Division, Ignacia Moreno and Tony West, will lead the team and meet with federal agencies on the scene and the relevant attorneys there, the department said.

Reporting by James Vicini and Jeremy Pelofsky, editing by Doina Chiacu and Vicki Allen