The Justice Department today sued BP and eight other companies in the Gulf oil spill disaster in an effort to recover billions of dollars from the largest offshore spill in US history. The Obama administration's lawsuit asks that the companies be held liable without limitation under the Oil Pollution Act for all removal costs and damages caused by the oil spill, including damages to natural resources. The lawsuit also seeks civil penalties under the Clean Water Act.
Before today, potential class-action lawsuits had been filed in the Gulf oil spill by fishing and seafood interests, the tourism industry, restaurants and clubs, property owners losing vacation renters—even vacationers who claim the spill forced them to cancel and lose a deposit. So far, more than 300 suits have been spawned by the spill and consolidated in federal court in New Orleans. (Read more British Petroleum stories.)