As BP and the Department of Justice barrel towards trial -- or a last-ditch settlement -- to determine the fines levied against the oil giant for their 2010 oil spill, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) today asked BP to settle their own debt to Congress in the form of documents withheld for nearly three years. Rep. Markey also asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to continue BP's suspension from profiting from federal contracts until the company turns over all relevant information to Rep. Markey and the U.S. Congress.
BP has already pled guilty to lying to Congress, specifically to Rep. Markey, by withholding documents and altering information during the congressional inquiry into the spill, specifically on the "flow rate" of oil coming from the blown-out Macondo well. The issue of the size of the spill will directly influence the penalties levied against the company in the impending civil trial.
Some of those documents later appeared in the felony indictment by DOJ against BP, and have yet to be turned over to Congress, even as the company admitted to obstruction of Congress. In a letter to BP CEO Robert Dudley, Rep. Markey asks for any remaining documents not shared with Congress, as well as a full accounting on how the company's response to congressional inquiries broke down and what will be done to fix their communication shortcomings.
"It is imperative that BP produce to Congress all documents related to the spill and provide a full accounting of how and why BP's responses to Congress' investigation were flawed and when BP became aware that all documents had not been given to Congress," writes Rep. Markey to Dudley. "BP must take these steps so that the American people can be confident that any mistakes will not be repeated in the future. Until BP gives a full accounting of how its internal processes for communicating with the government broke down and the steps it has taken to prevent similar errors in the future, BP should remain barred from being able to profit via contracts with the federal government."
In an additional letter to the EPA, Rep. Markey requests that the suspension of BP from receiving new federal contracts following the guilty plea to the government should continue until BP satisfies Rep. Markey's requests, since obstruction of Congress was one of the charges included in the plea deal.