A former Halliburton manager pleaded guilty Tuesday to destroying evidence in the aftermath of the deadly rig explosion that spawned BP’s massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Anthony Badalamenti, 62, faces a maximum sentence of 1 year in prison and a $100,000 fine after his guilty plea in U.S. District Court to one misdemeanor count of destruction of evidence. His sentencing by U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey is set for Jan. 21.
Badalamenti was the cementing technology director for Halliburton Energy Services Inc., BP’s cement contractor on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. Prosecutors said he instructed two Halliburton employees to delete data during a post-spill review of the cement job on BP’s blown-out Macondo well.
Last month, a federal judge accepted a separate plea agreement calling for Halliburton to pay a $200,000 fine for a misdemeanor stemming from Badalamenti’s conduct. Halliburton also agreed to be on probation for three years and to make a $55 million contribution to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, but that payment was not a condition of the deal.
The April 20, 2010, rig explosion killed 11 workers and led to America’s worst offshore oil spill.See more at: Rigzone
The Department of Justice announced late Thursday that Halliburton Energy Services has accepted criminal responsibility and will plead guilty to destroying evidence related to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
"A pair of scientists have accused BP of an attack on academic freedom after the oil company successfully subpoenaed thousands of confidential emails related to research on the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.
The accusation from oceanographers Richard Camilli and Christopher Reddy offered a rare glimpse into the behind-the-scenes legal manoeuvring by BP in the billion-dollar legal proceedings arising from the April 2010 blow-out of its well.
It also heightened fears among scientists of an assault on academic freedoms, following the legal campaign against a number of prominent climate scientists.
In an opinion piece in the Boston Globe, the scientists, from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said they volunteered in the early days of the spill to deploy robotic technology to help BP and the Coast Guard assess how much oil was gushing from the well.
The two researchers turned over some 50,000 pages of research notes and data to BP. But BP demanded more, and obtained a court subpoena for the handover of more than 3,000 confidential emails. The scientists handed over the emails last week – but with severe misgivings, they wrote.
"Our concern is not simply invasion of privacy, but the erosion of the scientific deliberative process," they wrote. They feared the email exchanges, in which the scientists discuss hitting dead ends or challenging each other on their conclusions, were open to deliberate misinterpretation.
"Incomplete thoughts and half-finished documents attached to emails can be taken out of context and impugned by people who have a motive for discrediting the findings. In addition to obscuring true scientific findings, this situation casts a chill over the scientific process. In future crises, scientists may censor or avoid deliberations, and more importantly, be reluctant to volunteer valuable expertise and technology that emergency responders don’t possess."
The struggle over the emails indicates the looming legal significance of any data related to the flow of oil from the stricken well.”
Good read. Note that BP is volunteering the money in addition to recent settlement and the $20 billion Obama coerced after the explosion.
"The agreement, the largest of its kind in an oil pollution case, does not absolve BP of legal liability for the explosion and spill that occurred April 20, 2010, or from the costs of any additional economic and environmental damages. The company faces fines and penalties of as much as $21 billion as a result of the disaster, the worst offshore drilling accident in United States history. The company could face additional penalties under a Justice Department criminal and civil investigation.
The advance payment, to be divided among the states and the two lead federal agencies overseeing restoration efforts, will be used to rebuild coastal marshes, replenish damaged beaches, conserve ocean habitat and restore barrier islands.
The $1 billion does not represent the governments’ estimate of the ultimate environmental cost of the explosion and spill, which poured nearly five million barrels of oil into the gulf over 87 days last year. Federal and state officials are conducting a review known as a natural resource damage assessment to measure the injury to the gulf habitat and devise a plan for restoring it, a process that generally takes years. Any restoration efforts financed by the $1 billion will count toward the company’s final liability, officials said.
As the leaseholder on the well and the party responsible for the spill, BP is responsible for the entire cost, although this week it filed suit against its drilling partners, Transocean, Halliburton and Cameron International, blaming them for the accident and seeking to recover tens of billions of dollars in compensation.
The agreement announced Thursday allows the complex work of environmental restoration to proceed more quickly and ends some of the squabbling over financing among states and the federal government.”
UPDATE: Caused by a car accident between a Mustang and an SUV in a remote area. Enbridge calls the incident “an unusual occurrence.”