BP temporarily suspended from new federal contracts

Wednesday - 11/28/2012, 11:08am EST

The Environmental Protection Agency temporarily suspended the BP oil company from new federal contracts, grants and other covered transactions, citing the company's "lack of business integrity" and criminal proceedings stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The action by the Environmental Protection Administration won't affect current contracts, but prevents BP and its affiliates from new government contracts "until the company can provide sufficient evidence to EPA demonstrating that it meets federal business standards," the agency said.

In London, BP said it had no immediate comment but expected to make a statement later Wednesday.

BP pleaded guilty on Nov. 15 to 11 counts of misconduct or neglect of ship officers. In addition, the company pleaded guilty to one count of Obstruction of Congress and one misdemeanor count each for violating the Clean Water Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. All of these charges stemmed from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion. Eleven people were killed in the incident, which led to the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history.

The EPA suspensions were standard practice when a criminal case raises responsibility questions about a company. The suspension came the same day two BP rig supervisors and a former executive were scheduled to be arraigned on criminal charges stemming from the deadly explosion and the company's response to the resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The suspension will remain in effect until BP can show the EPA it is meeting federal business standards.

It was not immediately clear what new or pending contracts the suspension might affect. In the past, BP has been a major supplier of energy to the U.S. military, and has also provided fuel products and drilling services for other U.S. agencies such as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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