Deepwater Horizon manslaughter charges dropped against BP supervisors

US federal prosecutors on Wednesday dropped charges against two BP personnel charged with manslaughter over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the US Gulf of Mexico, according to Reuters and the Associated Press.

The oil rig supervisors, Donald Vidrine and Robert Kaluza, were facing involuntary manslaughter charges pertaining to the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 people and led to the biggest offshore oil spill in US history.

But prosecutors of the US Department of Justice said on Wednesday that they could not meet the legal standards required for such a charge, which would have required proof that the men acted with “wanton or reckless disregard for life”.

One of the two men, Kaluza, will contest a remaining charge of violating the Clean Water Act, but Vidrine has agreed to plead guilty to that charge.

Kaluza will go to trial on that lesser charge on February 16 while Vidrine will face sentencing on the same matter on April 6. Vidrine may be called as a witness in Kaluza’s trial.

With the lifting of the manslaughter charges it is now unlikely that any jail time will be served by anybody in relation to the disaster.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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