Watchdog group Food & Water Watch formally gave notice Thursday of its intent to sue BP along with the federal government for violating a slew of safety laws governing its Atlantis oil and gas platform. The announcement comes as the most recent development in an ongoing effort to close the Atlantis, one of the largest deepwater rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, until it can be proven safe for operation.
In a letter to BP and the U.S. Department of Interior, Food & Water Watch and whistleblower Ken Abbott charged that BP has failed to secure critical safety documents for its Atlantis platform. Along with the federal government's failure to enforce environmental and worker safety regulations, this poses a serious threat to public safety and the environment, say the plaintiffs.
Food & Water Watch first sued the Minerals Management Service -- now known as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement -- in May, asking for a federal injunction to shut down the rig until it could be proven safe for operation. The watchdog was forced to withdraw the case when it became clear they had overlooked a legal technicality mandating that BP be given 60 days of legal notice about the suit.
Food & Water Watch has also sent a letter signed by 60 Gulf community organizations representing fishermen, conservationists and other local groups, calling for Interior Sec. Ken Salazar to investigate allegations of safety violations at Atlantis.