On top of the growing pressure to stop the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, BP is facing new criminal and civil investigations.
The FBI and other federal agencies say they are launching probes for any evidence of criminal behaviour. BP shares have fallen sharply.
It is also reported that some workers brought in to help with clean-up efforts have fallen ill, and are considering legal action against BP.
Eric Holder, the US Attorney General, said: “As our review expands in the days ahead, we will be meticulous, we will be comprehensive, and we will be aggressive. We will not rest until justice is done.”
After the failure of its so-called “top kill” operation, BP has now begun a new plan to siphon off some of the oil. Robot submarines are first trying to cut away what is left of the offshore well’s leaking riser pipe. A containment dome will then be brought in. But authorities say the efforts are not enough.
Bobby Jindal, the Governor of Louisiana, said: “The time for studies and discussions are over. We need our federal government to hold BP accountable, make them act like the responsible party. We don’t want our federal government making excuses for BP.”
The oil spill, which began in April, is causing an ecological and economic catastrophe. As much as 19,000 barrels of oil a day has been gushing into the Gulf, making it the worst oil spill in US history.
So far the Louisiana coastline has been the worst affected, but there are fears that shifting winds could soon drive the oil slicks closer to the Alabama and Mississippi coastlines.