In a press conference announcement today in New Orleans U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that the U.S. Justice Department is investigating BP for any criminal and civil wrongdoing when it comes to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The investigation is looking for any violations of the Clean Water Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. If the company is found to be guilty of any of those acts it could be held liable for cleanup efforts and for reimbursement to the government for any costs it may incur as a result of the spill.
The investigation comes after a growing number of critics have demanded more intense government involvement. Scott West, the former special agent-in-charge at the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, has been reminding anyone who will listen of BP’s prior convictions, one in connection with a March 2005 explosion at its Texas City refinery that killed 15 employees and injured 170 others and two criminal misdemeanor convictions for a pair of oil spills in Alaska in March and August 2006, relating to corroded pipelines that BP had failed to maintain. “BP is a convicted serial environmental criminal,” West recently toldtruthout.org. “So, where are the criminal investigators? The well head is a crime scene and yet the potential criminals are in charge of that crime scene. Have we learned nothing from this company’s past behavior?”