McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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January 29, 2013

Judge OKs $4B BP oil spill criminal settlement

(Continued)

NEW ORLEANS —

A different judge will decide whether to accept Transocean’s civil settlement. Many relatives of rig workers who died in the blast submitted written statements that were critical of BP’s deal. Vance, however, said she couldn’t get involved in plea negotiations and only could impose a sentence that adheres to the agreed-upon terms if she accepted it.

Also killed were Aaron Dale “Bubba” Burkeen, 37, of Philadelphia, Miss.; Donald Clark, 49, of Newellton, La.; Stephen Ray Curtis, 40, of Georgetown, La.; Karl Kleppinger Jr., 38, of Natchez, Miss.; Keith Blair Manuel, 56, of Gonzales, La.; Dewey A. Revette, 48, of State Line, Miss.; Shane M. Roshto, 22, of Liberty, Miss.; and Adam Weise, 24, Yorktown, Texas. Four current or former BP employees have been indicted on separate criminal charges.

BP rig supervisors Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine are charged with manslaughter, accused of repeatedly disregarding abnormal high-pressure readings that should have been glaring indications of trouble just before the blowout. David Rainey, BP’s former vice president of exploration for the Gulf of Mexico, was charged with withholding information from Congress about the amount of oil that was gushing from the well.

Former BP engineer Kurt Mix was charged with deleting text messages about the company’s spill response. A series of government investigations have blamed the April 20, 2010, blowout on time-saving, cost-cutting decisions by BP and its partners on the drilling project. 

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