Video: One year after Gulf spill, oil remains

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    >>> a year to the day after the deep water horison oil rig explosion fell into the waters of mexico, killing 11 workers, some of the survivors, family workers flew over that site today, and sin that day, grief has been mixed with anger over this disaster all along the gulf coast . our chief environmental affairs correspondent is with us tonight.

    >> reporter: good evening, late today, bp filed suit against the maker of the blow-out preventers alleging a faulty design contributed to the oil spill . some of that oil is still in louisiana's marshes, and now officials here are trying to decide if the effort to clean it up is worth the risk to this fragile coastline. one year later, there are still clean-up workers in one of the most heavily oiled areas in louisiana' coast. using a giant hedge clipper , they cut a marsh to get at the oil trapped by the grasses. a giant rake gets the debris.

    >> this is a little bit of resid ial left.

    >> it has a sticky consistency.

    >> it's kind of like a peanut butter consistency. if you try to get it all, you would really be potentially excavating the marsh and losing it.

    >> reporter: 60 miles away , another area devastated by the spill, a path of blanks leads the way to the path of oil. the pungent odor of the summer is gone, but all it takes is a couple shovel fulls of muck and you can see the tell tale rust colored signs of oil.

    >> the sheen on the surface.

    >>> james peters who makes his living leading deep- sea fishing trips is seeing it, too.

    >> you can see a sheen and oil droplets in the water.

    >> there is no more visible oil on the island where we first saw the pictures. how healthy does cat island look to you?

    >> frankly, it doesn't look too healthy.

    >> he points to the dying man mangroves on the edge and the leafless interior. still, pelicans make their nest here. for all the effort of the past year, environmentalists say cleanup without coast restoration is pointless.

    >> it's for naught because in five years all of that's going to be eroded away. in 50 years, it's all gone. everything you see is gone.

    >> now, finally tonight, the government is strongly disputing an associated press report that says 3,200 wells in the gulf of mexico do not have cement plug and threaten to leak oil into the waters. the government said those are sealed and they're monitored every six month.

By
updated 4/20/2011 9:46:06 PM ET 2011-04-21T01:46:06

BP on Wednesday sued the maker of the device that failed to stop last year's calamitous Gulf oil spill and the owner of the rig that exploded, alleging that negligence by both helped cause the disaster.

The British company said in papers filed in federal court in New Orleans that it is suing rig owner Transocean for at least $40 billion in damages, accusing it of causing last year's deadly blowout in the Gulf of Mexico that led to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. BP says every single safety system and device and well control procedure on the Deepwater Horizon rig failed.

It also is suing Cameron International, which provided a blowout preventer with a faulty design, which caused an unreasonable amount of risk that harm would occur. Both companies have filed counter claims against BP.

Story: 3,200 abandoned oil and gas wells lack cement plugs

The filings are essentially legal maneuvers to preserve the companies' claims. A federal trial is scheduled for next year that will determine which companies are at fault and how much their liability should be.

The lawsuits, filed on the first anniversary of the explosion that led to the spill, seeks damages to help BP pay for the tens of billions of dollars in liabilities it has incurred from the disaster. Though BP has estimated its liabilities at $40.9 billion, it still could face tens of billions of dollars more in civil and criminal fines and penalties from the U.S. government.

"The Deepwater Horizon BOP was unreasonably dangerous, and has caused and continues to cause harm, loss, injuries, and damages to BP (and others) stemming from the blowout of Macondo well, the resulting explosion and fire onboard the Deepwater Horizon, the efforts to regain control of the Macondo well, and the oil spill that ensued before control of the Macondo well could be regained," BP said in the lawsuit against Cameron.

BP wants the court to award the oil giant damages against Cameron and to declare that the device maker caused or contributed to the disaster and is responsible for some or all costs incurred by BP.

Eleven people were killed when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, 2010, leading to more than 200 million gallons (757 million liters) of oil spewing from an undersea well.

A testing firm hired by the government determined last month the blowout preventer had a faulty design. But it also cited other problems related to rig crew actions.

BP said in a statement that it wants Transocean to pay its "proportionate" share of all damages and liabilities from the disaster.

In a statement, Transocean called BP's lawsuit "desperate," "specious," and "unconscionable."

"The Deepwater Horizon was a world-class drilling rig manned by a top-flight crew that was put in jeopardy by BP, the operator of the Macondo well, thorough a series of cost-saving decisions that increased risk — in some cases, severely," Transocean said.

Story: 'A juggling act': La. pushes to repair oil-stained image

Houston-based Cameron noted in a statement emailed to AP that Wednesday was the deadline under the relevant statute for all parties to file claims against each other.

"It is not surprising that the companies are filing to protect their indemnity rights (except in the case of BP) and whatever claims they believe they have," Cameron said. "Additionally, in order to protect ourselves, we, too, have filed crossclaims and counterclaims, including our indemnity claims, against other parties to the litigation."

Cameron, one of the largest makers of blowout preventers, has defended the integrity of its devices and workmanship.

Also Wednesday, Transocean filed court papers demanding that judgments be made against BP, Cameron and other companies in its favor. Among other things, Transocean wants a judgment against BP for $12.9 million and a judgment against cement contractor Halliburton and other companies for $20 million.

Transocean said the figures stem from contractual obligations and the money it lost when the rig sank.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: The BP spill revisited

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  1. Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico about 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana on April 21, 2010. (USCG) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Smoke from the Deepwater Horizon rises high above the Gulf of Mexico on April 21, 2010. The rig sank the next day. (Gerald Herbert / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. A Northern Gannet, normally white when fully grown, is washed to remove oil from the spill at a facility in Fort Jackson, La., on April 30. (Alex Brandon / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Glenn Corbett, of Pensacola, Fla., gets help from his granddaughter Emma Wilmoth, 5, as they joined hundreds of volunteers picking up trash along Escambia County beaches on May 2, 2010. Officials organized the massive beach cleanup in anticipation of an oil slick. (Scott Keeler / Zuma Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Mark DeFelice, executive chef at Pascal's Manale restaurant in New Orleans, lines up Eastern oysters for customers on May 3, 2010. The oysters were harvested from Louisiana waters before the oil slick caused fishing and harvesting closures. (David Friedman / msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Alabama National Guardsmen assemble a barrier to block oil on Dauphin Island, Ala., on May 4, 2010. (Dan Anderson / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Rob Lewis, center, and Dexter Strange unload crab traps from their boats on May 5, 2010, after having to dump their catch in Shell Beach, La., due to the oil spill. (Sandy Huffaker / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Conservationist Rick Steiner collects a sample of oily water near Breton Island, La., on May 5, 2010. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Some of the oil leaked from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead is seen on May 6, 2010. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Greenpeace marine biologist Paul Horsman surveys oil pooled between reeds and brush at the mouth of the Mississippi River on May 17, 2010. (Hans Deryk / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Dispersed oil caught in the wake of a transport boat floats some 15 miles northwest of the spill site on May 18, 2010. (Hans Deryk / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, center, and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, right, tour the oil impacted marsh of Pass a Loutre, La., on May 19, 2010. (Gerald Herbert / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Nesting pelicans are seen as oil washes ashore May 22 on an island that is home to hundreds of brown pelican nests as well as terns, gulls and roseate spoonbills in Louisiana's Barataria Bay. (Gerald Herbert / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. A BP cleanup crew removes oil from a beach at Port Fourchon, La., on May 23. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. A sign warns the public away from the beach on Grand Isle, La., on May 23. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Oil streaks into the Gulf of Mexico on May 26 near Brush Island, La. (Win Mcnamee / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. An image taken from a BP video feed shows a robotic arm using a wrench during the "top kill" procedure on May 27. The bid to stop the flow failed. (BP via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. A brown pelican coated in heavy oil wallows in the surf on East Grand Terre Island, La., on June 4. (Win McNamee / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. A worker cleans up oil in Plaquemines Parish, La., on June 4. (Gerald Herbert / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. A cleanup worker picks up blobs of oil with absorbent snare on Queen Bess Island in Louisiana's Barataria Bay on June 4. (Gerald Herbert / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Tar balls sit on the beach in Orange Beach, Ala., on June 5. (Dave Martin / AP file) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Workers use absorbent pads to remove oil in Grand Isle, La., on June 6. (Eric Gay / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. This protest at a BP gas station in Pensacola, Fla., on June 6 targeted the oil giant. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. A dead sea turtle floats on a pool of oil in Barataria Bay off Louisiana on June 7. (Charlie Riedel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Jars of water mixed with oil collected off Louisiana and Alabama are stacked in front of Gulf Coast residents as they attend a news conference June 16 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Thick crude oil from the BP spill is seen in Barataria Bay near Port Sulphur, La., on June 20. (Erik S. Lesser / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. James McGee vacuums oil in Barataria Bay on June 20. (Patrick Semansky / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Out of work fishermen seeking to be hired as cleanup crew talk to BP representatives in Larose, La., on June 20. (Gerald Herbert / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. People line up in Pensacola, Fla., on June 26 to protest offshore oil drilling during a 'Hands Across the Sand' event. The protest took place in hundreds of cities across 30 countries. (Dan Anderson / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. With no tourists to hire him, fishing guide Raymond Griffin eats lunch in a nearly empty cookhouse at Griffin Fishing Charters in Lafitte, La., on June 26. (Patrick Semansky / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. A heavily oiled bird is rescued from the waters of Barataria Bay on June 26. (Gerald Herbert / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. In this image taken from video on July 12, oil flows out of the top of the transition spool, which was placed into the gushing wellhead prior to the well being capped. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Oily water washes ashore in Orange Beach, Ala., on June 26. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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Interactive: A year after the spill

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