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Judge Outlines New Plan For Gulf Oil Spill Trial

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A crane stands on the beach at dawn on the one-year anniversary of the BP oil spill on April 20, 2011 in Orange Beach, Alabama. Orange Beach on the Gulf Coast was impacted by oil in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion which killed eleven crew members. 206 million gallons of oil eventually spilled into the Gulf of Mexico until the BP well was finally sealed. April 20 marks the one-year anniversary of the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. (Photo Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A crane stands on the beach at dawn on the one-year anniversary of the BP oil spill on April 20, 2011 in Orange Beach, Alabama. Orange Beach on the Gulf Coast was impacted by oil in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion which killed eleven crew members. 206 million gallons of oil eventually spilled into the Gulf of Mexico until the BP well was finally sealed. April 20 marks the one-year anniversary of the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. (Photo Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal judge has outlined a new structure for a trial of Gulf oil spill claims that wouldn’t be resolved by a proposed class-action settlement between BP PLC and a team of plaintiffs’ attorneys.

In an order Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said the trial scheduled to start Jan. 14, 2013, will be conducted in at least two phases.

The first phase will explore possible causes of the April 2010 well blowout that triggered a deadly rig explosion and led to the massive oil spill. The second phase will address efforts to stop the flow of oil from BP’s Macondo well.

Barbier said he may issue partial rulings at the end of each phase.

A trial originally scheduled to start in February was postponed indefinitely after the settlement was announced.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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