Image courtesy of United States District Court Eastern District of Louisiana.

The U.S. Justice Department dropped manslaughter charges against two BP well site managers tied to the deadly Deepwater Horizon rig explosion.

According to Reuters, federal prosecutors filed a motion Wednesday in the U.S. Eastern District of Louisiana to drop involuntary manslaughter charges against Donald Vidrine and  Robert Kaluza for their roles in the 2010 accident that killed 11 people.

The two men were facing 11 counts of seaman’s manslaughter, but in accordance with a 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling earlier this year the charges were dismissed because their duties did not qualify them for a maritime crime,.

“Circumstances surrounding the case have changed since it was originally charged and after a careful review the department determined it can no longer meet the legal standard for instituting the involuntary manslaughter charges,”  Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr told Reuters.

Vidrine pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act and “admitted to negligently causing the massive oil spill that resulted from the disaster,” Carr said.

He’s facing up to 10 months of probation and financial penalties.

According to the Associated Press, Vidrine will be sentenced on April 6 next year.

Kaluza’s lawyer, Shaun Clarke, told Reuters his client will fight the alleged Clean Water Act violation.

That case is set to go to trial in February 2016.


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