Fire at the Deepwater Horizon rig. Image courtesy of United States Coast Guard/Wikimedia Commons.

A former BP rig supervisor was sentenced to nearly a year of probation on Wednesday for his role in the Deepwater Horizon accident but managed to avoid jail time.

According to Reuters, Donald Vidrine, 68, was sentenced to 10 months of probation by U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval in New Orleans after he pleaded guilty to the negligent discharge of oil, a violation of the Clean Water Act.

Manslaughter charges against Vidrine and fellow rig supervisor Robert Kaluza were dropped last March.

Kaluza and Vidrine were two of the highest ranking supervisors on the Deepwater Horizon rig at the time of the accident.

Vidrine’s sentence concludes the U.S. Justice Department’s pursuit of criminal charges related to the 2010 accident that killed 11 people and caused the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

Kaluza was acquitted of one count of violating the Clean Water Act earlier this year.

In November, the DOJ dropped all obstruction of justice charges against former BP engineer Kurt Mix, nearly four years after the agency alleged Mix had deleted messages concerning the Deepwater accident.

Mix was sentenced to six months of probation along with 60 hours of community service for intentionally damaging a protected computer without authorization after he pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor charge. 

Former BP Vice President David Rainey was acquitted of charges last June that alleged he lied to federal investigators about the size of the spill and obstructed a congressional inquiry into the accident.

Rainey had pleaded not guilty to both charges.

A federal judge in New Orleans approved a $20 billion settlement reached between BP, the DOJ and five Gulf states to resolve the government’s civil claims against BP for the accident.

The settlement will be paid out over the course of 16 years and is the single largest settlement the DOJ has ever reached with a single entity.


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