Feds file first criminal charges in BP spill

Updated
Response crews battling the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 21, 2010 near New Orleans, Louisiana.
Response crews battling the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 21, 2010 near New Orleans, Louisiana.
U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images

Two years after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and causing the worst environmental disaster in our country’s history, the Justice Department has announced they’ve made their first arrest. Drilling engineer Kurt Mix was charged with obstruction of justice after he allegedly deleted over 300 text messages with a BP supervisor.

The deleted texts, according to court documents, contain information regarding the actual amount of oil that was spilling endlessly into the Gulf of Mexico during the Spring and Summer of 2010. Originally, officials stated the damaged rig was spilling 5,000 barrels per day, but that number, according to these texts, was actually closer to 15,000 barrels. This is significant because BP’s plan for stopping the oil spill, called “Top Kill” at the time, would only work if the flow rate of oil was less than 15,000 barrels. If found guilty, Mix could face up to 20 years in federal prison.

It’s hard for anyone to argue that the “Top Kill” plan was a success. Yes, the gushing oil was stopped, but anyone who owned a TV or a computer with Internet access saw the live feed of non-stop oil spewing into the Gulf from the bottom of the sea from April to July 2010. It’s doubtful that Kurt Mix will be the only person charged. Eleven people died, the economy of the Gulf states took a massive hit and the ecosystem has been changed dramatically. No charges or reimbursements can change that. The Deepwater Horizon disaster was just that — a disaster and the clean-up isn’t over yet. 

Feds file first criminal charges in BP spill

Updated