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On oil disaster's anniversary, BP files suit over blowout preventer

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: BP claims blowout preventer had faulty design and manufacture
  • Gov. Jindal: Some BP promises "have still not been kept"
  • "We need to see the sense of urgency," a parish president says
  • 11 victims are remembered as heroes

(CNN) -- On the first anniversary of an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling platform, which triggered the biggest oil disaster in U.S. history, BP filed suit Wednesday against the manufacturer of the rig platform's blowout preventer.

"BP has sued Cameron for its faulty design and manufacture of the blowout preventer (BOP) and its negligence in the maintenance and modification of the BOP, a critical safety device that failed to prevent the blowout of the Macondo well," BP spokesman Scott Dean said in a statement.

"When activated in a loss-of-control situation, a BOP, through one of its preventers known as the blind shear rams, is designed to cut through drill pipe that may be across the BOP and seal the well to contain the hydrocarbons and keep them from flowing to the rig," Dean said.

A report released March 23 determined that the oil spill was caused by a piece of drill pipe trapped in the rig platform's blowout preventer, a device intended to stop oil from flowing into the Gulf. The report was commissioned by various U.S. agencies, including the Interior Department and the Department of Homeland Security.

The Interior Department has said a much broader report that relies on additional sources of data, including eyewitness accounts and photos, will be released this summer.

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Meanwhile, officials in Louisiana Wednesday called on BP to make good on its promises to make everything right.

"We continue to call on BP to fulfill the promises of their ads," said Gov. Bobby Jindal. "We continue to call on BP to truly make it right, here in Louisiana. We have 300 miles of our coast that continue to be oiled."

Jindal said he has called on BP "not to wait five years, 10 years, 20 years," to make key payments as part of the Natural Resources Damage Assessment process. "We know those payments could be hundreds of millions, maybe even billions of dollars. We again call on BP to make these payments within days, not weeks, not months ... so we can proceed with restoring our coast.

"We stood here with some leaders from BP toward the end of last year and they made promises -- promises about replanting oysters, promises about building a saltwater hatchery -- and those promises have still not been kept."

Jindal said he was also calling on both BP and the U.S. Coast Guard to continue to clean up the shoreline, noting that "40% of the Louisiana coastline that had been oiled during this spill continue to be oiled today."

The oil spill has prompted a flood of lawsuits against BP, Transocean and Halliburton from a variety of plaintiffs, including owners of Gulf businesses who say they suffered heavy financial losses because of the spill. Transocean owned the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Halliburton installed the rig's cement casing.

The plaintiffs also include Transocean shareholders who contend the company falsely claimed it had remedied past safety problems with its blowout preventers before the Gulf spill.

Dean said BP is filing suit "as part of the legal process to ensure that all parties involved in the Macondo well are appropriately held accountable for their roles in contributing to the Deepwater Horizon accident."

Billy Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish, was among the officials joining Jindal at a news conference. "We need to see the sense of urgency," Nungesser said.

"I stand here today, a year later, and I still can't look you in the eye and tell you who's in charge," he said, repeating a statement he made Tuesday night in an interview with CNN's "In The Arena" host Eliot Spitzer.

"We need to make sure we begin coastal restoration this week -- not next year, not the following year," Nungesser added.

Jindal and other officials remembered the 11 people killed on the Deepwater Horizon, saying they were heroes.

In a statement, BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley said, "We remember 11 fellow workers and we deeply regret the loss of their lives." The company said its thoughts are with their families, friends and colleagues.

"We also remember those who were injured and affected in other ways by the accident and the subsequent oil spill," Dudley said.

"We are committed to meet our obligations to those affected by this tragedy and we will continue our work to strengthen safety and risk management across BP."

On its website, BP lays out numerous steps it has taken, including payments made. The company says it paid nearly $400 million in response to more than 150,000 individual and business claims. It also paid $1.14 billion to federal, state and local governmental entities to cover claims, response and removal costs and payments.

In 2010, BP paid $5 billion into a $20 billion trust designed to satisfy claims adjudicated by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, and the company "is committed to making additional payments of $1.25 billion each quarter until the end of 2013," it says.

CNN's Eric Gershon contributed to this report.