Attorney general to visit Gulf Coast Tuesday

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Attorney General Eric Holder will survey the damage from the Gulf Coast oil spill on Tuesday and meet with federal prosecutors and state attorneys general, the Justice Department said on Monday.

It will be Holder’s first trip to survey the damage before what legal experts believe will be a criminal investigation into the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion last month that killed 11 workers and led to the gushing oil spill.

Holder has said the Justice Department was looking into whether there was any “malfeasance” related to the oil spill and that his department was monitoring the situation to ensure those responsible pay for the damage and cleanup.

After a tour and briefing by the U.S. Coast Guard, Holder will meet with the state attorneys general from Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi as well as U.S. attorneys from those states. Holder is also scheduled to speak to reporters in New Orleans.

The Justice Department has already demanded that the companies involved in the spill, including BP Plc, Transocean Ltd and Halliburton Co to preserve paperwork related to the accident that could become part of an investigation.

Experts have said the Justice Department was likely eyeing potential violations of the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Refuse Act.

Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky; Editing by Peter Cooney