A federal judge in Houston has upheld the US Chemical Safety Board’s legal authority to investigate the April 2010 deepwater Macondo well blowout and subsequent explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible in the Gulf of Mexico, which resulted in a massive oil spill.
US District Judge Lee Rosenthal issued an Apr. 1 order that denied a motion by Transocean Deepwater Drilling Inc. to block the CSB’s access to information regarding the Deepwater Horizon. Transocean owned the semi that drilled the Macondo well for BP PLC and its partners.
CSB has shown its jurisdiction to investigate the Macondo incident, Rosenthal said, adding CSB was within its authority to issue five subpoenas to the drilling contractor in 2010-11.
An independent federal agency charged with investigating serious chemical accidents, CSB’s makes safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies.