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 Himpton HolderObamas discuss pandemic, voting, anxiety and community in new podcast Joy Reid debut delivers 2.6 million viewers for MSNBC The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Facebook — Republicans rejigger summer convention plans 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 Levy BoxerBottom line Polls show big bounce to Biden ahead of Super Tuesday Sanders poised for big Super Tuesday 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 CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinCongress eyes tighter restrictions on next round of small business help Senate passes extension of application deadline for PPP small-business loans 1,700 troops will support Trump 'Salute to America' celebrations July 4: Pentagon MORE (D-Md.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSanders offers bill to tax billionaires' wealth gains during pandemic Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Progressives soaring after big primary night MORE (D-N.Y.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersOn The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure Sanders offers bill to tax billionaires' wealth gains during pandemic MORE (I-Vt.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package Lobbying world MORE (D-Minn.), Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump's pitch to Maine lobstermen falls flat | White House pushed to release documents on projects expedited due to coronavirus | Trump faces another challenge to rewrite of bedrock environmental law NEPA White House pushed to release documents on projects expedited due to coronavirus Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic MORE (D-Del.), and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Hillicon Valley: NSA warns of new security threats | Teen accused of Twitter hack pleads not guilty | Experts warn of mail-in voting misinformation Merkley, Sanders introduce bill limiting corporate facial recognition MORE (D-Ore.)

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