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BP sues U.S. government over contract ban

As of last November, the oil company can no longer take on new government contracts

Frequent litigation target BP is turning the tables by filing its own suit against the U.S. government.

The oil giant argues that the feds unfairly banned it from getting new government contracts. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) handed down the ban last November, citing BP’s “lack of business integrity as demonstrated by [its] conduct with regard to the Deepwater Horizon’s blowout, explosion, oil spill and response.”

But BP argues that the ban included 21 subsidiaries that had no involvement in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The government prohibition does not affect existing BP contracts, but it has kept the company from taking on new leases in the Gulf.

"We believe that the EPA's action here is inappropriate and unjustified as a matter of law and policy, and we are pursuing our right to seek relief in federal court," Geoff Morrell, BP's head of U.S. communications, said in a statement to BBC News. "At the same time, we remain open to a reasonable settlement with the EPA."

BP is busy with plenty of other litigation, albeit mostly as a defendant. The company is facing lawsuits from five Gulf states, as well as thousands of businesses and individuals who suffered economic losses or health problems as a result of the spill. Last year, BP agreed to an $8.5 billion settlement with many of those parties but has since said that the total payments will likely be larger.

For more InsideCounsel coverage of BP’s litigation woes, see:

Texas sues BP over Gulf oil spill

BP faces more than 2,200 new spill lawsuits

Florida sues BP for oil spill damages

First phase of BP spill trial ends

BP settlement costs rise again

BP enters plea in Gulf oil spill criminal case

BP will pay $4.5 billion in Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement

BP, plaintiffs ask judge to approve $7.8 billion oil spill settlement

Feds to pursue gross negligence claims in BP oil spill case

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