Former BP engineer accused of deleting text messages

As the first criminal case related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico got underway, a former BP engineer was accused by the federal government of deleting text messages about the amount of oil being spilled.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports 50-year-old Kurt Mix was arrested on two charges of obstruction of justice and freed on $100,000 bail following an appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Smith in Houston.

Mix, who served as a drilling and completion projects engineer for BP, is accused of deleting more than 200 text messages despite orders from the company to save them. Some of the texts reportedly included information that the "top kill" plugging procedure was not working, according to the news source.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a release that other investigations into the oil spill itself are still being conducted.

"The Deepwater Horizon Task Force is continuing its investigation into the explosion and will hold accountable those who violated the law in connection with the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history," he said.

According to The Associated Press, the government claims Mix knew the rate at which the oil was spilling was far more significant than BP had acknowledged publicly.

Information on the impact of the gulf oil spill can be found at PennEnergy's Research area.

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