USA: Govt. announces criminal investigation into Gulf oil spill and rig explosion - BP says it will cooperate with the inquiry
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Author: David Schaper, NPR [USA]
Under increasing pressure from the federal government, oil giant BP is agreeing to reduce the amount of a chemical dispersant it is using in the Gulf of Mexico...BP uses the dispersant Corexit to try to break up the massive amounts of oil gushing out of its blown-out well in the Gulf, but there are questions about the long-term impact of the chemical on marine wildlife and human health...The Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] raised concerns about the toxicity of Corexit last week, and told the oil company to use a different chemical agent to try to disperse the giant oil slicks...BP officials say their own testing finds the dispersant Corexit effective in breaking up oil and safe to aquatic life -- adding that it couldn't find large enough quantities of other dispersants to make the switch.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday the Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into the massive oil spill spreading through the Gulf of Mexico..."We have begun both a criminal as well as a civil investigation as is our obligation under the law," Holder said. "We have what we think is a sufficient case to have begun a criminal investigation"...Among other things, Holder said Justice Department lawyers are examining possible violations of the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act...BP responded in a statement that it "will cooperate with any inquiry..." [Senator B. Boxer] said... "What is happening in the Gulf -- eleven people dead, and an entire ecosystem and the jobs that depend on it at risk -- justifies a thorough criminal investigation." [includes video]
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