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Trial date set for companies, workers charged in Gulf oil platform blast

NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge has set a January 2017 trial date for the Justice Department’s criminal case against several companies and workers involved in a deadly 2012 explosion on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

A court filing Thursday says the jury trial in New Orleans is scheduled to start on Jan. 17, 2017, and last approximately four weeks.

In November, a grand jury indicted Black Elk Energy and one of its contractors, Grand Isle Shipyards Inc., on involuntary manslaughter charges. Another contractor, Wood Group PSN Inc., and three men who worked on the Black Elk Energy-owned platform also were indicted on criminal charges.

The November 2012 platform explosion killed three workers. A 2013 report by federal regulators identified a string of safety lapses that led to the blast.

In related news, 5 years on, empty graves, full hearts for Gulf survivors.

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