U.S. government attorneys have charged BP Exploration Inc. with violating the company's probation originating from a 2009 oil spill in Alaska, the second company spill in three years.
The charges were filed in the U.S. District Court in Anchorage this week, and claim the company, a unit of British oil major BP Plc, violated Alaskan law for negligent discharge of pollutants in 2009.
The hearing will take place starting Nov. 29.
The company was placed on probation for three years after it pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and paid at least $20 million in fines in 2007 for a spill which partially closed Alaska's Prudhoe Bay a year before.
The 2006 spill, registered as one of the worst in Alaska, leaked roughly 200,000 barrels of oil into Prudhoe Bay.
Three years later, a company pipeline burst near the company's Lisburne Production Center, spilling roughly 45,000 gallons of oil on the area's tundra.
The government alleges that the Lisburne spill constituted a violation of federal and state law and as a result constituted a violation of the mandatory condition of probation that prohibits commission of another crime, read the hearing brief, filed on Monday.
State attorneys attested that BP's 2009 spill showed the company did not comply with the the terms of its probation in 2007.
BP has now proven itself to be a recidivist offender and repeated violator of Environmental laws and regulations, read the government filing.
In its defense, the company does not deny that oil leaked from its pipeline in 2009, but questions whether the spill polluted waters of the United States, according to the court filing.
The company also denies that is acted negligently and that the company had no reason to suspect the pipeline, which performed flawlessly for decades, was about to rupture.
The Lisburne spill was an unfortunate incident but it was not a crime, read the court filing.