November 22, 2012

BP Indictments

David Rainey, a BP exploration expert,
is accused of making false statements
about the oil flow rate.
Deception on the flow rate, negligence in pressure tests, misinterpretation of data, a failure to consult: a look at the charges against BP officials indicted in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, which killed 11 men and spewed five million barrels' worth of oil into the gulf.

Donald J. Vidrine and Robert Kaluza were the two BP supervisors on board the Deepwater Horizon rig who made the last critical decisions before it exploded. Mr. Vidrine, 65, of Lafayette, La., and Mr. Kaluza, 62, of Henderson, Nev., were indicted on Thursday on manslaughter charges in the deaths of 11 fellow workers; Mr. Rainey, 58, of Houston, was accused of making false estimates and charged with obstruction of Congress. They are the faces of a renewed effort by the Justice Department to hold executives accountable for their actions. While their lawyers said the men were scapegoats, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said at a news conference, "I hope that this sends a clear message to those who would engage in this kind of reckless and wanton conduct."

Legal scholars said that by charging individuals, the government was signaling a return to the practice of prosecuting officers and managers, and not just their companies, in industrial accidents.

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