NEW ORLEANS (CN) - Louisiana demands more than $1 million a day from each of the companies responsible for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, in accord with the Louisiana Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act of 1991, the Oil Pollution Act, and the Louisiana Environmental Quality Act.
In his federal complaint, Louisiana Attorney General James "Buddy" Caldwell outlines BP's and the other defendants' disregard of safety practices and regulations every step of the way.
The attorney general says that before the Deepwater Horizon exploded, "warning signs of well flow were being transmitted to the rig, to Halliburton's Houston office and BP E&P's Houston office in real time for almost an hour before hydrocarbons reached the rig, alerting rig workers to shut down the well. Nevertheless, the rig workers apparently ignored these warning signs until it was too late. Moreover, during the critical hour before the well blowout, there was no one at the Halliburton or BP E&P offices to monitor this data and issue the appropriate warnings."
(BP E&P stands for BP Exploration & Production.)
The complaint continues: "The initial explosion on the Deepwater Horizon on the night of April 20, 2010, was caused when an engine in the rig's engine room sucked in the gas vapors from the MGS vent pipe, causing the engine to overspeed.
"Gas sensors designed to help avoid explosions by shutting down these engines and closing air intake manifolds when flammable gas is present were not operational on the night of the incident. Gas alarms which would have alerted the crew to shut down the rig had been intentionally disarmed."
The blowout killed 11 deaths and injured 17 and set off "the largest marine oil spill in history, with an approximate release of 4.9 million barrels of oil, methane gas and other pollutants."
The petroleum products "invaded Louisiana's waters and adjoining coastline, severely damaging Louisiana's natural resources, such as wetlands, shorelines, habitat, and wildlife, endangering the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Louisiana. These impacts continue. Louisiana has been, and will continue to be, profoundly impacted by the Deepwater Horizon disaster and has incurred, and will continue to incur, significant costs and damages," the complaint states.
"At the time of the incident, the Macondo well was months behind schedule and significantly over budget. Defendants made and/or authorized a number of reckless decisions concerning well design, cementing, and integrity testing in the interest of speed and cost savings, at the expense of safety and industry best practices," it adds.
"BP E&P knew, or should have known, that the cement design and implementation had a very low probability of ever becoming an effective barrier to well flow.
"The spacer used in the cement job was a combination of Forma-set and Form-a-squeeze loss containment material (LCM) pills. This was leftover material that government regulations prohibited from discharge directly into the Gulf. However, if these materials are circulated in the well, a loophole in the regulations allowed them to be dumped overboard. BP E&P intentionally used these materials as a spacer in order to save the cost of having to transport them to shore and properly dispose of them, all the while knowing that they were not designed for that application and that cement contamination could result."