"The companies being sued in the largest offshore oil spill in history are fighting among themselves and with the federal government over examining a key piece of evidence. The enormous, 380-ton blowout preventer that failed to stop the spill is sitting on a pier at a NASA facility in New Orleans but can't be moved inside a nearby hangar because the sheer weight of the device would destroy the road leading to the shelter.
Michael Underhill, the Justice Department's attorney in the civil lawsuit, told U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier that a steel pad needed to be put in place to make sure the device doesn't collapse the dock where it's sitting, according to court records. A hearing on how experts will examine the device was set for Thursday.
The companies being sued are upset over the government's plans to preserve and test the blowout preventer. They complained unsuccessfully to the judge earlier this month about the government shipping the device to the NASA facility, which they said is not equipped to house or test it.
The companies are being sued by shrimpers, commercial fishermen, charter captains, property owners, environmental groups, restaurants, hotels and others who claimed economic losses since the spill. Relatives of workers killed in the blast also have sued."
Dina Cappiello reports for the Associated Press September 16, 2010.