Alabama Attorney General Troy King this afternoon filed lawsuits against BP PLC and several other companies over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
In two separate suits, King seeks unspecified damages. Both were filed after 5 p.m. in U.S. District Court in Montgomery.
BP spokesman Ray Melick said the company had not seen the lawsuits and could not comment.
Todd Stacy, a spokesman for Gov. Bob Riley, said Thursday night that Alabama should first present its claim before suing, and that King was too quick in filing the lawsuit.
King said in a written statement that BP has spent millions on public relations, but has not followed through on promises to accept responsibility for the disaster.
BP owns the majority stake in the well that spilled about 200 million gallons of oil into the gulf following the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig. The spill has been stopped since July 15.
King’s lawsuits also named several other companies that were involved in the drilling — Transocean Ltd., Halliburton Energy Services Inc., Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Mitsui & Co., and Cameron International Corp.
King said in his statement that BP’s recent sale of assets might be a way to limit the amount of money American courts could reach to satisfy a judgment. He also said that BP is “secretly working to gain a legal advantage” by working on a report to argue that they were not grossly negligent in the spill.
“Some will, no doubt, sound the alarm that the lawsuit is premature,” King said. “As Alabama’s lawyer, I say that if anything … further delay can only further damage our people.”