BP Oil Spill Arrest - Consumer Justice Foundation

BP Oil Spill Arrest

Written by Faith Anderson on April 25, 2012
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BP Engineer Deletes Messages Critical to BP Spill Investigation

According to federal authorities, Mix deleted more than 200 messages sent to a BP supervisor from his iPhone in October 2010, which contained information about the amount of oil leaking into the Gulf. He also allegedly deleted 100 more messages the following year, after receiving numerous legal notices to preserve the information, the Justice Department reported in a news release. On the first day BP used the ultimately unsuccessful “top kill” method, which involved pumping heavy mud into the blown-out well head to plug the leaking well, Mix estimated in a message to his supervisor that 15,000 barrels of oil were spilling each day – an amount greater than what BP said the method could handle. Having an accurate flow-rate estimate is critical to determining how much in civil and criminal penalties BP and the other responsible companies will face under the Clean Water Act.

Oil Spill Information Allegedly Misrepresented

The Deepwater Horizon rig, leased by BP, exploded the night of April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and setting off the worst offshore oil disaster in the history of the United States. As a result of the blast, more than 200 million gallons of crude oil flowed out of the well off the Louisiana coast before it was finally capped on July 15, 2010. As the spill continued for weeks and then months, soiling beaches, fishing grounds and marshes, independent scientists questioned the official flow rates. Environmentalists, academics and federal investigators accused the Obama administration of misrepresenting data and downplaying scientific findings, as well as misconstruing the opinions of experts it solicited.

Ongoing Environmental Effects of BP Oil Spill

A deepwater drilling moratorium was put in place after the BP disaster, a painful move for the industry and the Gulf states that rely on drilling for work and tax revenue. Meanwhile, BP chief executive Tony Hayward was forced to step down after making a series of errors related to the spill. BP’s attempts to create for itself an environmentally-friendly image were crushed, and independent gas station owners carrying the BP logo lost business from angry customers. Recently, scientists have reported finding fish in the Gulf with parasitic infections, open sores and damaged fins, injuries they suspect are associated with the petroleum exposure. The evidence is not conclusive, but it could mean that the harmful effects of the BP oil spill on the environment are still unfolding, and we have yet to see the extent of the damage it will cause.

Posted Under: United States
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