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British oil giant BP sued the U.S. government on Monday over its decision to bar the company from new federal contracts to supply fuel and other services following the company’s agreement to plead guilty to manslaughter and obstruction charges in connection with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster.
The company, which was negotiating a possible agreement with the EPA at the time the agency issued the suspension last November, wants a judge to order the EPA to lift the suspension and allow BP to bid for and secure new government contracts.
The suspension, called a debarment, affects only new federal contracts, not existing ones. Because of it, however, BP has lost out on potentially billions of dollars of business with the U.S. government.
BP said it believed the suspension would be brief and that it was working with the EPA on an agreement that would effectively end the suspension. But according to the court filing, which was reported earlier by the Houston Chronicle, the EPA refused to lift the ban even after the company entered its formal pleas and the criminal case was closed.
The company is asking the court to rule the EPA suspension is illegal and to end it immediately.