Energy companies face criminal charges in oil platform explosion deaths

Energy companies face criminal charges in oil platform explosion deaths

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Three companies and three individuals now face criminal charges related to an explosion on a Gulf of Mexico oil platform that claimed the lives of  three workers in 2012.

Black Elk Energy and Grand Isle Shipyards, Inc. face three counts of involuntary manslaughter, eight counts of failing to follow proper safety procedures and one count of violating the Clean Water Act.

Wood Group PSN Inc., Don Moss, 46, of  Groves, Texas and Curtis Dantin, 50, of Cut Off, Louisiana are charged with felony violations of federal laws.

According to the indictment, all of the defendants were involved in the construction project on the West Delta 32 platform when it exploded.

Among other things, a government report found storage tanks had not been properly purged of flammable liquid before a crew began welding nearby.

Assistant Attorney General John Cruden says, "workers lives can depend on their employer's faithfulness to the law, not least of all those working in oil and gas production where safety must be a paramount concern."

U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite emphasizes that even though the energy sector is vital to the region, it must be performed responsibly.

"Today's indictment underscores that we will hold accountable all parties – both businesses and individuals – whose criminality jeopardizes our environment or risks the loss of life," said Polite in a news release.

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