By Ben Geman - 05/17/10 09:23 PM EDT
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. HolderPodesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs Payback: Dems see chance to boot Issa Trump was right — Clinton's email case needs a special prosecutor 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 BoxerCalifornia House Republicans facing tougher headwinds House and Senate water bills face billion difference Boxer, Feinstein endorse Kamala Harris in two-Dem Senate race 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 CardinSanders, Dem senators press Obama to halt ND pipeline Dems to McConnell: Pass 'clean' extension of Iran sanctions Top Foreign Relations Dem: US needs to 'revisit' approach to Russia MORE (D-Md.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandMusic streamer Spotify joins Gillibrand’s push for paid family leave Gillibrand proposes sexual assault reforms for Merchant Marine Academy Podesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs MORE (D-N.Y.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump: Podesta a 'nasty guy' Sanders’ brother loses British parliamentary election America’s Eastern European mess MORE (I-Vt.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharGreat Lakes senators seek boost for maritime system Podesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs EpiPen maker to pay 5M to settle overcharging case MORE (D-Minn.), Tom CarperTom CarperYahoo hack spurs push for legislation Election-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Overnight Healthcare: McConnell unveils new Zika package | Manchin defends daughter on EpiPens | Bill includes M for opioid crisis MORE (D-Del.), and Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyOvernight Healthcare: Top ObamaCare lobbyists reject 'public option' push | Groups sound alarm over Medicare premium hike Top ObamaCare lobbyists reject 'public option' push Liberal groups urge Schumer to reject Bayh for Banking gavel MORE (D-Ore.)
The committee is holding a hearing Tuesday about the oil spill.