BP is asking a federal court to lift its ban on new government contracts, claiming the Environmental Protection Agency has unfairly targeted the company due to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Eleven workers died and nearly five million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. BP has since paid out more than $42 billion.
The federal contract ban followed BP's plea agreement to settle manslaughter and obstruction charges. The company claims it "faces a substantial threat of irreparable harm if an injunction is not granted."
“BP has admitted their mistakes, even people in the energy industry were upset with the Deepwater Horizon situation, but at what point are they allowed to redeem themselves as a company?” asks Phil Flynn at the Price Futures Group in Chicago.
Flynn says the Obama administration must keep in mind what goes around, comes around.
“We just have to be careful if foreign countries decide to do the same thing with our companies,” he says.
Flynn says sanctions could eventually hurt everyone.
“The EPA, obviously it has a job to do, and I think the EPA in this particular case is sending a message,” he says. “At some point you have to wonder whether the message becomes too harsh.”
BP's head of communications Geoff Morrell issued the following statement:
“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. At the same time, we remain open to a reasonable settlement with the EPA.”