Senate Dems seek criminal probe of BP

A group of Senate Democrats is pressing the Obama administration to escalate its probe of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill by launching a criminal investigation of BP.

Eight members of the Environment and Public Works Committee in a letter Monday to Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderHolder defends Mueller: 'No basis to question the integrity of Mueller' Kamala Harris slams Sessions on criminal justice Deputy AG backs Sessions' tough on crime policy MORE asked him to explore whether BP made “false and misleading statements to the federal government regarding its ability to respond to oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico.”

The letter points to an exploration plan that BP provided Interior Department regulators in February of 2009 that addresses the company’s ability to respond to a spill.

The document, according to the letter, said a well blowout resulting in a spill would be “unlikely to have an impact based on the industry wide standards for using proven equipment and technology for such responses, implementation of BP’s Regional Oil Spill Response Plan which address available equipment and personnel, techniques for containment and recovery and removal of the oil spill.”

The lawmakers say the ongoing Gulf spill shows the BP document was not accurate.

“In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, it does not in any way appear that there was ‘proven equipment and technology’ to respond to the spill, which could have tragic consequences for local economies and the natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico,” states the letter to Holder from Committee Chairwoman Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerTime is now to address infrastructure needs Tom Steyer testing waters for Calif. gubernatorial bid Another day, another dollar for retirement advice rip-offs MORE (D-Calif.).

The letter urges Holder to explore possible violations of both civil and criminal laws. Other senators that signed the letter are: Ben CardinBen CardinGOP senator: It is in Trump's 'best interest' to sign Russia sanctions bill Sunday shows preview: Scaramucci makes TV debut as new communication chief Oil concerns hold up Russia sanctions push MORE (D-Md.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandTrump's DOJ gears up for crackdown on marijuana OPINION | Hey Dems, Russia won't define 2018, so why not fix your party's problems instead? Dems see huge field emerging to take on Trump MORE (D-N.Y.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders keeping door open on 2020 Parliamentarian deals setback to GOP repeal bill OPINION | Hey Dems, Russia won't define 2018, so why not fix your party's problems instead? MORE (I-Vt.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDem senator: Trump acting like he's still on ‘The Apprentice’ The next battle in the fight against human trafficking Dems see huge field emerging to take on Trump MORE (D-Minn.), Tom CarperTom CarperGovernors-turned-senators meet to talk healthcare Overnight Healthcare: GOP'S repeal-only plan quickly collapses in Senate Dem leaders amp up calls for bipartisan ObamaCare fixes MORE (D-Del.), and Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyOPINION | Shailene Woodley: US should run on renewable energy by 2050 Gore wishes Mikulski a happy birthday at 'Inconvenient Sequel' premiere Callista Gingrich touts Trump's commitment to environment despite Paris deal pullout MORE (D-Ore.)

The committee is holding a hearing Tuesday about the oil spill.