On the heels of the second anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, federal prosecutors have issued the first arrest related to the worst oil disaster in U.S. history. The Justice Department has charged former BP engineer Kurt Mix with destroying evidence on BP’s internal response to the disaster.
Mix, who worked on estimating the amount of oil spilling into the Gulf, allegedly deleted hundreds of text messages with a BP supervisor. This includes one that read “Too much flowrate —- over 15,000,” barrels of oil per day, which was three-times higher than BP’s public estimate of barrels of oil per day at the time.
Attorney General Eric Holder issued the statement [emphasis added]:
“The department has filed initial charges in its investigation into the Deepwater Horizon disaster against an individual for allegedly deleting records relating to the amount of oil flowing from the Macondo well after the explosion that led to the devastating tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Attorney General Holder. “The Deepwater Horizon Task Force is continuing its investigation into the explosion and will hold accountable those who violated the law in connection with the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.”
As the criminal investigations continue, Congress has still not yet passed legislation responding to a disaster that continues to have devastating effects on fish, beaches, and wetlands.