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Company’s lawsuit for money in oil leak response dismissed

April 10, 2019

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the government filed by a New Orleans-based company that has failed to end the longest running oil spill in U.S. history.

Taylor Energy Co. filed the suit in 2016 seeking to recover $432 million remaining in a trust established to pay for plugging leaking oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico.

The judge in Washington, D.C., decided that the Interior Department has the right to keep the trust money, WWL-TV reported . Senior Judge Nancy Firestone of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims concluded Tuesday that the government can use the money to determine if more can be done, or even to change its assessment of the risk.

The spill in the Gulf is around 12 miles (19 kilometers) off the mouth of the Mississippi River. Oil has been leaking from the site 450 feet (137 meters) below the surface since a platform that Taylor Energy owned fell in an underwater mudslide during Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Taylor Energy had sued, claiming that regulators violated a 2008 agreement requiring the company to deposit roughly $666 million in the trust. The company issued a statement Wednesday saying it’s disappointed with the ruling.

“By no means is this question resolved. We are reviewing the ruling and will consider all options going forward,” the statement said. “Taylor Energy remains committed to its role as the current responsible party and continues to advocate for a response that is grounded in science and prioritizes the well-being of the environment.”

The company argues in separate court cases that the Coast Guard and its contractor are hurting containment efforts. The Coast Guard had seized partial control of response operations in the fall.

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Information from: WWL-TV, http://wwltv.com

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