Robert Kaluza, a former rig supervisor for BP, was found not guilty in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana [official website] Thursday of violating the Clean Water Act [materials] over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill [BBC backgrounder] in the Gulf of Mexico. The disaster killed 11 people. Kaluza was initially charged [text, PDF] with the pollution misdemeanor as well as involuntary manslaughter. The manslaughter charges were later dropped. Kaluza and another supervisor, Donald Vidrine, were accused of negligent conduct leading to the explosion of the Macondo well.
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill had far-reaching and catastrophic environmental effects [JURIST backgrounder]. According to a 2013 study [text, PDF] published by the National Academy of Sciences, it is difficult to know the full extent of environmental damage caused by the spill because of the movement of ocean currents and the difficulties of monitoring the great variety of natural resources found in the Gulf of Mexico. In November 2015 the US Supreme Court [official website] denied [order, PDF] certiorari in an appeal by Mexican states attempting to sue BP [JURIST report] over the spill. In December 2014 the court declined [JURIST report] to review the settlement reached in the oil spill case following an order of adherence [JURIST report] to the terms of the settlement issued by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in March. BP claims that under the terms of the settlement they are forced to pay businesses and individuals who could not prove that their injuries were caused by the oil spill. However, lower courts have taken a stand in deciding the fallout of Deepwater Horizon and have determined that BP bears the majority of the responsibility [JURIST report] for the spill.