Senators Want Probe of Whether BP Misled Government

Posted May 17, 2010 at 4:43pm

A handful of Democratic Senators called on the Justice Department on Monday to launch an investigation of BP to determine whether the oil giant misled the government about its abilities to respond to oil spills.

“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,” a letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder read.

The letter, signed by seven Democrats and one Independent on the Environment and Public Works Committee, referenced a previous statement made by BP officials vowing the company had the “proven equipment and technology” to respond to a disaster.

Executives of the oil company were blasted in a hearing before the committee last week over their response to the massive oil spill off the Gulf Coast.

“Much of the response and implementation of spill control technologies appears to be taking place on an ad hoc basis,” the letter said.

EPW Chairman Barbara Boxer (Calif.) along with Democratic Sens. Benjamin Cardin (Md.), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Tom Carper (Del.) and Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) signed the letter. The panel has a hearing scheduled Tuesday with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and other Obama administration officials to discuss the federal government’s response to the oil spill.