The story hasn’t garnered a lot of headlines, but the first criminal charges have finally been filed in the case of the BP oil spill two years ago. According to a federal affidavit and as reported by the Huffington Post, Kurt Mix, 50, a senior BP drilling engineer, allegedly destroyed hundreds of text messages sent to a supervisor that described high volumes of oil flowing from the ruptured well. Mix reported amounts far in excess of what BP was stating publicly, and for destroying those messages and obstructing justice he faces up to 20 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines.
As HuffPo notes, the BP story is far from over:
The charges come just days after BP finalized a $7.8 billion settlement with over 100,000 businesses and individuals harmed by the spill.
But still looming for the company is a massive civil trial that pits BP and its corporate partners on the doomed Deepwater Horizon rig against the federal government and a half-dozen Gulf states.
Federal and state claims could yield penalties and fines totaling as much as $60 billion, legal experts said.
Stay tuned. Justice may yet prevail, but don’t bet on it.
For all related PT posts, see “BP oil spill.”