People familiar with the matter are telling The Wall Street Journal the U.S. Justice Department plans to file a civil complaint today for damages resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill:

In its complaint, the Justice Department is expected to allege violations of environmental-protection regulations, which could trigger penalties under laws including the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act, these people say.

By joining the litigation, Justice Department lawyers would likely play a major role in upcoming legal steps in the cases, including depositions of key witnesses, which could aid the government’s ongoing investigation, these people say.

Before the well had even been plugged for good, hundreds of lawsuits by private parties and local governments were piling up in federal courts. The cases have since been consolidated in New Orleans.

Update:

The Associated Press is reporting that the lawsuit has been filed.

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