The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that BP (NYSE: BP ) has been temporarily suspended from entering any new contracts with the U.S. government. In a press release, the Agency blamed BP's "lack of business integrity" with regard to the Deepwater Horizon explosion, oil spill, and response.
The EPA action does not affect existing agreements BP has with the government. It will remain until the company "can provide sufficient evidence to EPA demonstrating that it meets Federal business standards."
Today's announcement comes less than two weeks after BP pleaded guilty to a slew of charges including misconduct, obstruction of Congress, and violation of the Clean Water Act -- and agreed to pay a $4.5 billion fine -- in relation to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico incident that killed 11 people and is considered to be the worst U.S. environmental disaster ever.
BP responded with its own announcement, stressing that existing contracts remain unaffected and that the energy company is well on its way to demonstrating "present responsibility" to win back contract approval. The company is implementing 26 separate recommendations from an internal investigation, and has spent more than $14 billion in operational response and clean-up costs since the explosion, the company said.