Emails: BP Lied About Extent of Oil Spill

Accused engineer plans to release evidence

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 10, 2012 3:47 PM CST

(Newser) – Emerging evidence may support accusations that BP initially lied about the extent of its devastating 2010 oil spill, reports the Huffington Post. Former BP engineer Kurt Mix, charged with destroying spill-related text messages, plans to defend himself by releasing emails that show BP knew about the true extent of the leak almost immediately. Mix's lawyers say he warned a supervisor that the fatal rig explosion could leak up to 146,000 barrels per day—but just two days later, BP executives were estimating the leak at 1,000 barrels per day.

BP pleaded guilty last month to several spill-related felony charges, including misleading Congress about the spill's size, but so far only one executive has been indicted—and he plans to plead innocent. The slow criminal prosecutions at BP are "a central issue," says one critic. "It shows just how morally and ethically bankrupt institutions within BP were." But Mix is in hot water too—for deleting hundreds of text messages he sent a supervisor during the leak, after being "repeatedly informed of his obligation to maintain such records," says an FBI special agent.

In this Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011, file picture, BP PLC's CEO Bob Dudley pauses during a results media conference at their headquarters in London.   (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
In this April 21, 2010 file photo, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig burns in the Gulf of Mexico.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
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