The BP Prosecutions Show A New Strategy For The Justice Department

BP Oil Spill

Photo: Flickr/Infrogmation

The feds’ indictment Thursday of two BP supervisors on the doomed Deepwater Horizon rig signals a renewed effort to punish managers for major disasters, The New York Times reports.Going after supervisors for big tragedies like Deepwater has been unusual in recent years and was more common in the 1980s and 1990s, the Times reported.

Even after a 2005 BP Texas City refinery explosion, only the company was fined, the Times pointed out.

So, who are the two well site leaders who are now being charged with manslaughter?

Robert Kaluza, 62, and Donald Vidrine, 65, were on the Deepwater rig the day of the disaster in April 2010 and allegedly ignored “glaring indications” of a major problem, the Times reported.

Kaluza, who’s the subject of a negative Facebook campaign, lives in Henderson, Nev. and was “not an executive or high-level BP official,” his lawyer says, according to CBS News.

“He was a dedicated rig worker who mourns his fallen coworkers every day,” his lawyers added in a statement.

Vidrine, meanwhile, is a 62-year-old resident of Lafayette, La. He begged out of testifying before the feds about Deepwater at least three times, saying he was ill, AOL News reported in August 2010.

A third BP official, David Rainey, was also indicted Thursday, but he was charged with making false statements and obstruction of Congress.

Rainey, a vice president for Gulf of Mexico production, was also apparently more high level than the two officials charged with manslaughter.

SEE ALSO: BP To Pay $4.5 Billion In Largest Criminal Payout EVER >

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