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Two BP Employees, Including Lafayette Man, To Face Manslaughter Charges

BP Blow Out Preventer
BP Blow Out Preventer, (Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Thomas M. Blue/U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images)

62-year-old Robert Kaluza of Henderson, Nevada, and 65-year-old Donald Vidrine of Lafayette, will face 11 counts each of seaman’s manslaughter.

Kaluza and Vidrine were well site managers. Assistant U.S. Attorney General Lanny Bruer says both men are accused of causing the deaths of eleven crewmen aboard the rig.

In the face of glaring red flags indicating that the well was not secure, both men allegedly failed to take appropriate action to prevent the blowout.

Lawyers for these two men say they their clients are being made out to be scapegoats.

Bruer says a third BP official, David Rainey was charged with obstruction for allegedly lying to Congress about how fast the oil was spilling out of the broken well.

BP says it will pay $4.5 billion in settlement with government over massive oil spill. $2.4 Billion of the settlement will go to the Gulf States for coastal restoration.

The settlement does not include civil claims under the Clean Water Act and other legislation, pending private civil claims and state claims for economic loss.

Attorney General Eric Holder says the investigation of the 2010 oil spill will continue, with an eye on assessing fines to BP for violating the federal Clean Water Act. Under the recently passed RESTORE Act, Louisiana would get a piece of those fines to pay for restoring the coast.

The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, 2010.  Eleven workers died, and the explosion and fire set off a spill which continued for 87 days.

After the rig sank, there were several hundreds of millions of gallons of crude oil that went into the water messing up the coastal areas in the south and wrecking fishing and tourism.

(KPEL’s Bernadette Lee and Brandon Comeaux contributed to this story.)

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