The United States Supreme Court decided Monday that it will not hear appeals from oil giants BP and Anadarko Petroleum Corp, leaving intact a ruling that the two companies will potentially have to face billions of dollars in fines for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The companies were trying to appeal a previous ruling by a federal court in New Orleans that found the companies responsible for spilling 3.19 million barrels of oil into the Gulf. BP could now face a penalty of US$13.7 billion while Anadarko's fine could be over US$1 billion. The district court has yet to announce the exact penalties.
The 2010 oil spill is considered the worst spill in U.S. history. Millions of barrels of oil was found in the Gulf off the coats of Louisiana after the April 25 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which also saw 11 people killed.
BP had tried to argue that it was not responsible, saying the oil leaked through under water pipes, which was equipment owned by its drilling contractor, an entity of Transocean Ltd.
However, the judge ruled that the leak started from the oil well making BP and Anadarko liable for the pollution fine. Transocean was also held partially responsible, and paid a US$1 billion federal fine last year.
BP and Anadarko had previously taken their argument to a federal appeals court, but the court ruled against them in November holding them liable under the Clean Water Act.