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US house committee calls for Deepwater Horizon inquiry

09 June 2010

The US House Committee on Energy and Commerce has formally requested that the CSB investigate the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Mexican Gulf on April 20. The committee’s chairmen Henry Waxman and Bart Stupak have written to the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) requesting an investigation which will determine what factors led to the explosion and failure of the blowout prevention system of the Macondo well at the centre of the Mexican Gulf oil spill disaster.

John Bresland: Necessary experience
John Bresland: Necessary experience

In his response, Chairman John Bresland said that the CSB is currently engaged in numerous investigations consuming its entire investigation staff. However, Bresland will be consulting immediately with the rest of the board and with key staff to determine how CSB will put together an investigation team. 
When the Texas City refinery exploded in 2005, the board thoroughly investigated issued a lengthy report and hour-long safety video. Following that investigation, the CSB has the necessary experience to address numerous questions about BP’s safety culture and practices, Bresland suggested. CSB hopes to make the key decisions on the matter in the next few days.

It should be remembered that it was at the CSB’s recommendation in 2005, that BP convened a special panel under the leadership of former Secretary of State James Baker to evaluate the safety culture at the company’s North American refineries. The Baker Report was published in January 2007. 

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