BP’s Spill Polluted Land and Sea, Group Claims

     NEW ORLEANS (CN) – BP’s oil spill has caused more than 35,000 tons of oily waste to pile up in landfills in the Gulf of Mexico region, in addition to the millions of barrels of crude that now taint Gulf waters, an environmental group claims in Federal Court.

     The Center for Biological Diversity claims BP not only caused a release of toxins to land and sea, it also violated federal law by failing to report the toxins.
     The environmental group says that while “BP did provide some reports of releases of benzene and ethylbenzene to water and air associated with prescribed surface oil burns of slicks created by the well and platform discharges, even those reports failed to provide the level of detail necessary to comply” with federal requirements.
     The center adds that many more types and levels of toxins than reported were released.
     Under federal law, BP must report any pollution. The center claims BP’s oil spill caused a massive release of benzene, toluene, naphthalene, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, arsenic and mercury, among other toxic chemicals.
     The lawsuit claims dozens of people in Louisiana have been hospitalized with health problems from these and other airborne toxic chemicals.
     Using the common estimate of 60,000 barrels of oil released per day from BP’s broken well, the nonprofit group calculates that about 5.2 million barrels of oil have been discharged into the Gulf.
     It seeks a court order requiring BP to pay penalties of up to $37,500 per day for each hazardous substance it failed to report or adequately report. It also wants an injunction forcing BP to pay the cost of any environmental restoration necessary along the Gulf Coast.
     The Center for Biological Diversity seeks damages for violations of the Clean Water Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act, and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.
     It is represented by Damon Kirin of Metairie, La.

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