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5th Circuit Rejects Oil Driller’s Pollution Claim

NEW ORLEANS (CN) - The 5th Circuit tossed out an oil driller's claim that Rowan Companies, Newfield Exploration Gulf Coast, and Remington Oil and Gas Corp. ordered him to illegally dump oil, oil waste, solid waste, grease, paint and other hazardous substances into the Gulf of Mexico at night.

Robert Marcy sued the companies on behalf of the government, claiming they violated the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. He also claimed defendants' action breached the terms of their oil-and-gas lease granted by the government, and their continued operations allowed them to fraudulently keep oil and gas royalties in violation of the False Claims Act.

The government may cancel the lease for violations of the law, but it is not required to do so. The court held that Marcy failed to state a claim, because his claims hinge on environmental standards that are not required by the lease.

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