BP Faces Criminal Investigation Over Oil Spill

As efforts to cap the month-long oil spill in the Gulf Coast continue to face difficulties, British oil giant BP now faces a criminal investigation as well.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Tuesday that the FBI and other federal agencies will be taking a criminal and civil probe into BP's actions surrounding the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oilrig and the ensuing spill, which scientists say is the largest in American history.

"If we find evidence of illegal behavior, we will be forceful in our response," Holder said.

Following the announcement, BP's shares plunged another 2.4 percent, costing the company an estimated $3.2 million.

Meanwhile, BP's latest efforts to control the spill were hampered when a robot attempting to sever a pipe connected to the mile deep well hit a snag.

"They are working that problem right now. The goal later on today is to finish that cut and to be able to put a containment device on top of the wellhead," Admiral Thad Allen of the U.S. Coast Guard told the Wall Street Journal.

Scientists have estimated that 18 to 40 million gallons of oil have been dumped into the Gulf of Mexico since the spill began, with some 12,000 to 19,000 barrels of oil being spilled each day.

On Wednesday, officials reported that a six-foot-long sheen of oil had washed up on the Florida coastline, drawing further alarm over the extent of the damage of the disaster.

But while control and clean-up efforts continue, forecasters have warned that the oncoming hurricane season may force delays in removing the oil from sensitive regions.

Forecasters have estimated that there is a 51 percent chance of a major hurricane hitting the Gulf Coast this season, which would not only prevent workers from cleaning up the coastlines but could also drive more oil onto state territories.

"We have increased our forecast from early April, due to a combination of a transition from El Nino to current neutral conditions and the continuation of unusually warm tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures," Colorado State forecaster William Gray told AFP.

"We anticipate a well above-average probability of United States and Caribbean major hurricane landfall," he said.

Meanwhile, leaders in the faith community have continued to speak out against the moral failings they've found in the oil crisis.

Former United Church of Christ and American Baptist minister Willis E. Elliot wrote on the Washington Post today that the irony of the oil spill disaster should not escape us, saying that "the more 'developed' and complex the world has become, the more fragile the works of our hands and minds."

"It is as though earth were fighting back against 'the world' for our worshiping and serving 'the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise. Amen," Elliot said.

Former president of Chicago Theological Seminary Susan Brooks Thistlethwaithe has said that there is "no question, from a biblical point of view, that these human actions in deep-sea drilling without adequate safety measures are profoundly sinful and wrong, and the consequences are there for all to see--more alienation between human beings and the planet."

"Unless we consciously work, with all our religious and secular sources combined, to try to overcome the alienation between humans and the planet, human beings will continue to try to commit 'planetcide' through greed and stupidity," she said.

"The choice for humanity, and for the planet that supports human life, is clear. Stop profaning the planet or it will no longer be able to sustain life."

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