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Supreme Court won't hear appeal over Gulf oil spill

Supreme Court justices let stand Monday a lower court ruling that said energy giants BP and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. could not avoid federal fines for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill by blaming another company's failed equipment.

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In this April 2010 file photo, oil can be seen in the Gulf of Mexico, more than 50 miles southeast of Venice on Louisiana's tip, as a large plume of smoke rises from fires on BP's Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig.

Gerald Herbert/AP/File

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The U.S. Supreme Court won't hear appeals from energy giants BP and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The justices on Monday let stand a lower court ruling that said the owners of the blown-out Macondo well could not avoid federal fines for the spill by blaming another company's failed equipment.

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The companies had argued that the oil had not leaked from the well itself, but from the broken underwater pipe that connected the well to the rig owned by Transocean Ltd, a top drilling contractor. That riser was ripped apart when the burning rig sank. The companies argued that the rig's owners should be the only companies to pay.

A district judge and a federal appeals court rejected that argument.

The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion and spill on April 20, 2010, resulted in as much as 172 million gallons of oil getting into the Gulf of Mexico.