It only took two years, but the Department of Justice has made its first arrest for the BP Gulf Coast oil spill, the largest oil spill to originate in the U.S.. And it’s over text messages which contained key information essential for gauging the criminal fines that BP will face.

The AP reports:

A BP engineer intentionally deleted more than 300 text messages saying the company’s efforts to control the Gulf of Mexico oil spill were failing, and that the amount of oil leaking was far more than what the company reported, the U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday.

In the first criminal charges related to the deadly explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig in April 2010, the Justice Department arrested Kurt Mix and charged him with two counts of obstruction of justice for allegedly destroying evidence sought by federal authorities, officials announced in a statement.

Having an accurate flow-rate estimate was needed to determine how much in civil and criminal penalties BP and the other companies drilling the Macondo well face under the Clean Water Act.

Tomorrow a federal judge in New Orleans is set to consider a motion to preliminarily approve a $7.8 billion civil settlement for plaintiffs who sued BP, but local fisherman say that settlement doesn’t come close to compensating them for the devastation of the spill, the AP reported. Check out Hatty Lee’s infographic detailing the environmental impacts of the disaster, two years on.

TAGS: BP oil spill

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