May 18, 2010
Senators seek Justice probe of BP statements
A group of Senators has written Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to open an investigation into potential violations of civil and criminal laws related to issues surrounding the Deepwater Horizon spill
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, was joined in signing the letter by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).
The letter notes that in a document submitted to the Minerals Management Service dated February 23, 2009, in describing impacts of its proposed oil and gas exploration activities on Essential Fish Habitat, BP stated:
"In the event of an unanticipated blowout resulting in an oil spill, it is unlikely to have an impact based on the industry wide standards for using proven equipment and technology for such responses, implementation of BP's Regional Oil Spill Response Plan which address available equipment and personnel, techniques for containment and recovery and removal of the oil spill."
The letter says that, in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, it does not in any way appear that there was "proven equipment and technology" to respond to the spill.
The senators write that "much of the response and implementation of spill control technologies appears to be taking place on an ad hoc basis." They cite a statement BP released a statement on May 10, 2010, that said:
"All of the techniques being attempted or evaluated to contain the flow of oil on the seabed involve significant uncertainties because they have not been tested in these conditions before."
The letter requests the Attorney General "to review this matter with respect to civil and criminal laws related to false statements to the federal government, including 18 USC 1001, as well as any federal law or regulation that may have been violated in connection with issues surrounding the spill."