BP Exec Not Guilty of |Lying About Oil Spill

     New Orleans (CN) – A federal jury acquitted a former BP executive charged with making false statements to federal investigators about the flow of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010.
     David Rainey, who was then a vice president for BP Exploration and Production Co., was accused of manipulating calculations at the start of the disaster to match the government’s woefully low estimates of how much oil was gushing from BP’s broken well.
     Rainey also initially faced a charge of manipulating a congressional investigation, by U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt dismissed that charge earlier this month on doubts over whether the members of Congress present at the time could have been subpoenaed to testify.
     The judge also cited doubts over whether the congressional committee to whom Rainey allegedly lied about the magnitude of the spill had authority to investigate the spill in the first place.
     Rainey’s lawyers told the jury during the week-long trial that Rainey’s calculations were truthful and he had no reason to lie.
     The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded April 20, 2010 50 miles offshore from Louisiana, killing 11 workers and injuring 17 others and sending a gush of oil into the Gulf of Mexico that went on unstopped for next to three months.
     The government’s initial estimate for the flow of oil was 5,000 barrels a day from the broken well; BP’s estimates were much lower. Rainey calculated 1,000 barrels were being discharged per day.
     A federal judge last fall ruled that roughly 3.19 million barrels were dumped into the Gulf before the well was sealed. By that figure, 36,000 barrels of oil a day were spilled.
     Rainey was one of a few officials charged criminally in connection with the oil spill.
     After the verdict, Leo Tsao, a prosecutor with the federal Deepwater Horizon task force, said he and his colleagues “respect the jury’s verdict.”
     Midnight Monday, June 8, is the deadline to file claims under a 2012 settlement related to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Claims administrator Patrick Juneau said last week he expected for there to be a last-minute rush of filers.
     As of last week, more than 328,000 claims had been filed; Of those, more than 20,000 were filed in just the last month, Juneau said.

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