Criminal charges have been filed against former BP engineer Kurt Mix in connection with the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago, according to the Justice Department.
Mix was arrested on charges of intentionally destroying evidence requested by authorities in Texas. NPR reports that Mix has been charged "with obstruction of justice for allegedly deleting text messages" related to the spill after it occurred.
The Department of Justice released the following statement, "Kurt Mix, a former engineer for BP plc, was arrested today on charges of intentionally destroying evidence requested by federal criminal authorities investigating the April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon disaster ... According to court documents, Mix was a drilling and completions project engineer for BP. Following the blowout, Mix worked on internal BP efforts to estimate the amount of oil leaking from the well and was involved in various efforts to stop the leak. Those efforts included, among others, Top Kill, the failed BP effort to pump heavy mud into the blown out wellhead to try to stop the oil flow. BP sent numerous notices to Mix requiring him to retain all information concerning Macondo, including his text messages."
The New York Times says "Some of the messages, the complaint said, indicated that a company effort to stop the leak in the early days of the spill — a procedure known as a top kill — was failing, in part because the company’s internal estimate of the amount of oil flowing from the well was greater than 15,000 barrels a day."
4.9 million barrels (206 million gallons) of crude are estimated to have poured into the Gulf of Mexico after the 2010 explosion that caused the drilling rig to sink and killed eleven workers aboard the deep sea drilling rig. Oil gushed into the Gulf for three months until it ws capped a mile below the surface.