The Environmental Protection Agency last week halted any new federal contracts with BP, citing the company's "lack of business integrity" as criminal charges are pending following the blowout of its Deepwater Horizon wellhead that killed 11 people in 2010. The action was taken Nov. 28.
In a statement, Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said, "Whether it's in the form of tax subsidies or federal contracts, BP doesn't deserve a single penny from American taxpayers. ... BP must be brought to justice and made an example of to deter future industry negligence."
The day after contracts were halted, BP site managers Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine, who were charged with manslaughter and Clean Water Act violations two weeks before, pleaded not guilty. David Rainey, BP's former vice-president for well exploration, who was charged with obstruction of Congress and providing false statements related to the size of the disaster, also pleaded not guilty. U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle set a jury trial date of Feb. 4, 2013, for Kaluza and Vidrine, and a Jan. 28, 2013, trial date for Rainey. — ALEX WOODWARD