BP may face third criminal charge

A late-November spill from an oil and water line in the BP-operated Prudhoe Bay oil fields could be heading toward another criminal complaint against the company:

The criminal investigatory arm of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency joined with the FBI and others to examine what led the pipeline to split open in late November, officials said. An estimated 46,000 gallons of crude oil and water poured from a 2-foot-long gash onto the snowy tundra, cleanup officials say.
“The (EPA) Criminal Investigation Division is continuing to work in concert with our federal and state partners, and British Petroleum, to assess the situation associated with the Nov. 29 rupture,” said Tyler Amon, the division’s acting special agent in charge for the Northwest. “This matter is under investigation.”
BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. runs most of the North Slope’s oil fields on behalf of itself and other oil companies and it operated the 18-inch flow line that ruptured.

The Anchorage Daily News story continues:

“We always cooperate with regulatory agencies,” BP spokesman Steve Rinehart said. “We have no comment on specific legal questions or specific investigations.”http://blogs.chron.com/MT/mt.cgi?__mode=view&_type=entry&id=120689&blog_id=90&saved_changes=1#
The EPA is working alongside the FBI in the investigation, Amon said. It’s not yet clear where the federal investigation is headed, he said. FBI spokesman Eric Gonzalez, the chief division counsel for Alaska, declined to comment.

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