By Eric Zimmermann - 05/03/10 07:28 PM EDT
The ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee announced today that he will investigate whether BP was improperly awarded safety certificates from the Interior Department.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said his staff will probe whether the Minerals and Management Service (MMS, the agency within Interior that has jurisdiction over offshore drilling) has established necessary safety regulations, and whether MMS "improperly awarded safety certifications to BP, Transocean, and the Deepwater Horizon rig."
indicate that the Deepwater Horizon appears to have had a faulty 'dead
man' shut-off switch which, if functioning properly, could have averted
this massive spill," Issa said in a letter to Interior Secretary Ken
"The malfunctioning 'failsafe' device raises
serious questions about any safety inspections or audits conducted by
MMS or third parties during the certification process. This, in turn,
casts serious doubt upon any safety awards that MMS may have granted to
BP and/or Transocean within the past year."
The California Republican will also look into the federal government's emergency response plan for oil spills.
"Though the U.S. coast guard assets quickly arrived on-scene to assist with the fire and rescue effort, there appears to have been a delay in dispatching significant resources to assist in the environmental clean-up," Issa wrote.