Final BP Spill Defendant Cleared of U.S. Pollution Charge


A former BP Plc manager charged with violating U.S. pollution law over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill was cleared by a New Orleans jury, thwarting federal prosecutors’ last chance to jail someone over the disaster.

Robert Kaluza, a well-site manager who wasn’t on duty at the time it exploded, was the last defendant remaining under prosecution over the spill. Kaluza faced as long as a year in prison plus fines if convicted.

Kaluza, charged with a single misdemeanor count of violating the U.S. Clean Water Act, had previously beaten more serious charges.

The blowout of BP’s Macondo well in April 2010 set off the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. Eleven men were killed and crude gushed from the well for almost three months as BP scrambled to cap it.

The U.S. claimed that Kaluza’s negligence was a contributing factor to the blowout and subsequent pollution. Kaluza denied responsibility for the disaster. The jury deliberated for less than two hours before acquitting him.

“We’re just pleased and thankful that the jury carefully considered the evidence and came to a just verdict,” Kaluza’s lawyers said in a joint statement Thursday.

Peter Carr, a Justice Department spokesman, declined to comment on the verdict.
In the wake of the spill, BP pleaded guilty and agreed in 2012 to pay $4 billion for multiple counts, including manslaughter. Only four employees, including Kaluza, were prosecuted. No one in BP’s onshore chain of command for the well was charged and no individual so far has gone to jail.

The only conviction at trial, over mishandling evidence after the spill, was overturned, with the defendant, Kurt Mix, later pleading guilty to a minor charge. David Rainey, the highest-ranking BP executive charged, was acquitted of downplaying spill-size estimates.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-26/final-bp-spill-defendant-cleared-of-u-s-pollution-charge

Former BP rig supervisor found not guilty in oil spill case


FoSignage for a BP petrol station is pictured in London, in this file picture taken July 29, 2014.   REUTERS/Luke MacGregor/Files

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A former BP Plc (BP.L) supervisor was found not guilty by a New Orleans jury on Thursday of a single pollution charge stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster that killed 11 people.

Robert Kaluza was the last of four people who had faced charges in connection with the disaster, the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

Kaluza, along with another former well-site manager, was accused of ignoring warning signs and botching safety testing that resulted in the rupture and explosion of BP’s Macondo well, sending millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

A jury on Thursday found Kaluza not guilty of a single misdemeanour count of violating the U.S. Clean Water Act. If convicted, he could have faced up to a year in jail.

A spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department declined to comment on the jury’s decision.

Kaluza and Donald Vidrine, the two highest-ranking supervisors on board the Deepwater Horizon rig, had initially faced charges of manslaughter and violating the Clean Water Act.

The federal government dismissed involuntary manslaughter charges against the men, saying a review after the incident determined the case did not meet the criteria for gross negligence.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-bp-spill-charges-idUKKCN0VZ0GC

P rig supervisor found not guilty in oil spill case

The Latest: Former rig BP supervisor found not guilty


A jury has found former BP rig supervisor Robert Kaluza not guilty of a misdemeanor pollution charge arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico rig explosion and oil spill.

Kaluza was tried on a single charge of violating the federal Clean Water Act.

Prosecutors said Kaluza and Donald Vidrine, another rig supervisor, botched a “negative pressure test” and missed clear signs of trouble before an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig.

The April 2010 blast caused millions of gallons of oil to spew from the Gulf floor for weeks.

Kaluza and Vidrine once faced manslaughter charges in connection with the deaths of 11 workers on the rig. But federal prosecutors later backed away from those charges. Vidrine pleaded guilty to the Clean Water Act misdemeanor.

http://www.stltoday.com/business/national-and-international/the-latest-jury-deliberating-in-case-of-ex-bp-engineer/article_076e909b-9880-5d9f-9644-e02cd0e50636.html

Ex-BP engineer’s trial nears end, with closing arguments


Closing arguments are set to begin Thursday in the trial of a former BP engineer facing a federal pollution charge stemming from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Robert Kaluza’s trial began last week. He faces a single charge of violating the Clean Water Act. Prosecutors say he and a fellow rig supervisor, Donald Vidrine, botched a pressure test and missed clear signs of trouble before the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig.

The April 2010 blast sent millions of gallons of oil spewing from the Gulf floor for weeks.

Kaluza and Vidrine once faced manslaughter charges in connection with the deaths of 11 workers on the rig. But federal prosecutors later backed away from those charges. Vidrine pleaded guilty to the Clean Water Act violation.

http://www.waff.com/story/31315801/ex-bp-engineers-trial-nears-end-with-closing-arguments

Former rig BP supervisor found not guilty


A former BP rig engineer was found not guilty Thursday on a charge that his negligence in interpreting a critical test contributed to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Robert Kaluza was a rig supervisor aboard the Deepwater Horizon offshore rig when it exploded, killing 11 workers and resulting in millions of gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf and fouling wetlands and beaches.

Kaluza was charged with a single count of violating the federal Clean Water Act and could have faced up to a year in prison if convicted. Jurors got the case Thursday afternoon and reached a verdict after less than two hours of deliberation.

“We’re just pleased and thankful,” defense attorney Shaun Clarke said as he walked out of court with Kaluza, 65, and co-counsel David Gerger. A smiling Kaluza declined comment. He had jubilantly hugged his lawyers immediately after the verdict was read.

Prosecutors told jurors Kaluza and a former co-defendant, Donald Vidrine, botched a crucial pressure test indicating oil and gas could be flowing from deep beneath the sea floor into BP’s Macondo well, which was thought to be securely plugged with cement and mud.

“All of the red flags in front of him should have told him that it was a bad test,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Winters told jurors after showing them images of smoke billowing from the flaming, crippled rig, followed by pictures of oil-coated coastal land.

Clarke cast Kaluza as a scapegoat. He said federal prosecutors failed to make their case.

Clarke said Vidrine, who has pleaded guilty in the case, was the rig leader who declared the test a success — after Kaluza’s watch aboard the rig had ended.

“The Macondo well was under control during every single second of his watch,” Clarke said.

Clarke also said other rig workers with 97 years of combined experience in drilling agreed with Vidrine. Clarke disputed Winters’ statement that the test was a simple one, saying there were no government standards for the test the prosecution is citing.

“There is no dispute that others were negligent,” prosecutor Jennifer Saulino argued later. But Kaluza shared in the negligence that caused the disaster and he should be held criminally accountable for the pollution, she said, as a video of oil flooding from the sea floor flashed on a screen behind her.

http://fuelfix.com/blog/2016/02/25/jury-deliberating-in-former-bp-engineers-oil-spill-trial/

The Latest: Former rig BP supervisor found not guilty


kaluza

The Latest on the trial of a former BP engineer, Robert Kaluza, charged with a violation of the federal Clean Water Act in connection with the 2010 Gulf oil spill (all times local):

A jury has found former BP rig supervisor Robert Kaluza not guilty of a misdemeanor pollution charge arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico rig explosion and oil spill.

Kaluza was tried on a single charge of violating the federal Clean Water Act.

Prosecutors said Kaluza and Donald Vidrine, another rig supervisor, botched a “negative pressure test” and missed clear signs of trouble before an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig.

The April 2010 blast caused millions of gallons of oil to spew from the Gulf floor for weeks.

Kaluza and Vidrine once faced manslaughter charges in connection with the deaths of 11 workers on the rig. But federal prosecutors later backed away from those charges. Vidrine pleaded guilty to the Clean Water Act misdemeanor.

The Latest: Former rig BP supervisor found not guilty


The Latest on the trial of a former BP engineer, Robert Kaluza, charged with a violation of the federal Clean Water Act in connection with the 2010 Gulf oil spill

A jury has found former BP rig supervisor Robert Kaluza not guilty of a misdemeanor pollution charge arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico rig explosion and oil spill.

Kaluza was tried on a single charge of violating the federal Clean Water Act.

Prosecutors said Kaluza and Donald Vidrine, another rig supervisor, botched a “negative pressure test” and missed clear signs of trouble before an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig.

The April 2010 blast caused millions of gallons of oil to spew from the Gulf floor for weeks.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/feb/25/the-latest-scenes-of-destruction-mark-spill-trial-/