Florida becomes 4th state to sue BP over oil spill

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 20, 2013 at 2:53 pm •  Published: April 20, 2013
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The state of Florida filed a lawsuit Saturday against oil company BP and cement contractor Halliburton over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, becoming the fourth state to seek damages for the 2010 disaster.

The suit, among other things, faults BP for not changing the batteries on the rig's blowout preventer. Halliburton was blamed for installing faulty cement barriers that were supposed to gird the well against oil pressure.

The 40-page complaint by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was filed in U.S. District Court in Panama City. The federal court has jurisdiction under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.

Bondi filed suit on the three-year anniversary of the tragedy that killed 11 rig workers in the Gulf of Mexico. Florida is now the fourth state to sue over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill; Mississippi sued on Friday.

Louisiana and Alabama sued BP earlier and are participating in a federal trial that is ongoing in New Orleans to determine the liability of BP and others. Cities and counties along the coast also have filed.

A BP spokesman declined comment and Halliburton spokespeople were not immediately available.

A note on BP's website Saturday from BP America Chairman and President John Mingé said, "On the third anniversary of the tragic accident in the Gulf of Mexico, our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of our 11 colleagues who died and those injured."

A battery-operated blowout preventer, powered by "a series of 9-volt battery packs," was supposed to activate automatically but didn't, according to the suit, because BP didn't replace the batteries.

"BP knew or should have known that the manufacturer recommended replacement of the batteries in the battery packs at least once per year," the suit said. Divers later couldn't manually turn it on, either. The suit also blames BP for installing a defective valve on the same blowout preventer.

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