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Sen. Barbara Boxer and other Democrats want criminal probe of Gulf oil spill

Senator Barbara Boxer of California, along with other Senate Democrats, wants the US Justice Department to begin a criminal investigation of the Gulf oil spill off the coast of Louisiana.

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Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., speaks as Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., listen at a news conference where they announced a bill to limit off-shore oil drilling on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 13, 2010. Sen. Boxer wants a criminal probe into the Gulf oil spill.

AP Photo/Harry Hamburg

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California Sen. Barbara Boxer and other Democrats on the Senate environment committee are calling for the Department of Justice to open a criminal and civil investigation into the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Boxer, who chairs the environment panel, said that operators of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig did not appear to have required equipment and technology needed to respond to the spill, which has dumped millions of gallons into the Gulf of Mexico.

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Six other Democratic senators and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont joined Boxer in requesting the Justice Department investigation.

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Boxer said BP officials appeared to misstate the company's ability to respond to an oil spill resulting from a blowout.