BP Exec Finally Arrested
This week, the first BP engineer was hauled into court to face criminal charges. Finally, right?
According to MSNBC, Kurt Mix was arrested on Tuesday. He’s charged with obstruction of justice, since he intentionally deleted 200 text messages that proved the oil leaking out of the well was drastically higher than what BP was saying, officially. According to the public statement issued by BP, the well was supposedly leaking 5,000 gallons of oil per day. According to the text messages deleted by Mix, the well was leaking 15,000 gallons of oil per day. However, Mix’s initial estimates of the flow rate was 64,000 barrels per day, to 138,000 barrels per day.
Clearly, BP’s estimates were all over the place in the weeks after the spill. And, I still don’t think we know the truth of how much really leaked out, and maybe we never will.
Another scandal has to do with BP’s “Top Kill” initiative; this was their plan for stopping the spill. According to BP’s public statement, Top Kill was going according to plan. However, some deleted text messages, according to a witness, stated that Top Kill couldn’t work if the flow was more than 15,000 gallons per day.
Mix had been told several times previously that he must keep every record that had to do with the spill; this included, of course, text messages he was sending back and forth to other engineers and executives. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, and up to $250,000 in fines.
Although he’s the first to be charged on an individual basis, I heard on NPR yesterday that officials in the investigation don’t expect he’ll be the last. And, I certainly hope not. In my opinion, the Gulf spill was an unprecedented disaster that could have been prevented if BP actually cared about safety and potential ill effects to the environment in the event of a massive, or even a moderate, spill.