Silver Lining

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Halliburton pleads guilty to destroying Gulf oil spill evidence

by Andre Damon, source

Halliburton, the oil field services contractor, agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence related to its complicity in causing the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, which killed 11 workers and spilled nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

The company was charged with one misdemeanor count of destruction of evidence in a New Orleans US District Court. It will be fined $200,000, and one of its subsidiaries will be put on three years probation, according to a statement issued by the company.

The fine, amounting to less than one tenth of a percent of Halliburton’s $679 million profits in the second quarter of this year, is less than a slap on the wrist and constitutes a de facto government approval of Halliburton’s criminal activities. Last year, the company set aside $300 million to cover possible fines related to the case.

The deal exempts Halliburton from any further criminal prosecution related to the disaster, with the company’s press release on the deal noting, “The Department of Justice has agreed that it will not pursue further criminal prosecution of the company or its subsidiaries for any conduct relating to or arising out of the Macondo well incident.”

“In agreeing to plead guilty, Halliburton has accepted criminal responsibility for destroying the aforementioned evidence,” wrote the Department of Justice.

The plea by Halliburton followed a guilty plea and $4 million criminal fine for BP, and a $400 million fine for Transocean for violating the Clean Water Act. A civil lawsuit filed against the companies by the Department of Justice in February is ongoing.

The Macondo prospect, where the disaster took place, was 65 percent owned by BP. The company leased the Deepwater Horizon rig from Transocean to drill the well, and key elements of the drilling process were contracted out to Halliburton.

Cost-cutting by all three companies contributed to the disaster, including insufficient testing of the cement mixture used to cement the well,atar/04d10eb59dce36dfb6a73194230f6749?s=25&d=http%3A%2F%2Fs2.wp.com%2Fwp-content%2Fmu-plugins%2Fhighlander-comments%2Fimages%2Fwplogo.png

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