Feds make first arrest related to BP oil spill
A BP engineer intentionally deleted more than 300 text messages indicating the amount of oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico was much greater than what the company later reported—and that BP's efforts to control the spill were failing—the U.S. Justice Department alleged today in bringing its first criminal charges related to the deadly explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig. Kurt Mix was arrested today and charged with two counts of obstruction of justice for allegedly destroying evidence sought by federal authorities. The charges come a day before a federal judge in New Orleans is slated to consider a motion granting preliminary approval of a $7.8 billion civil settlement between BP and a committee of plaintiffs in a civil case—and more than two years after the oil rig exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 and triggering the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. Criminal penalties could be levied against BP and its partners in the operation based in part on estimates of the amount of oil that spilled from the Macondo well. In an emailed statement to The Associated Press, BP declined to comment on the case, but says it is cooperating with the Justice Department and other investigations into the oil spill. Mix, 50, of Katy, Texas, was scheduled to appear in federal court in Houston this afternoon. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count. Read the full story here.
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