Deepwater Horizon engineer refuses Chemical Safety Board subpoena, challenges jurisdiction

It also questions whether the Deepwater Horizon was a “stationary source” under CSB’s purview even if the board had jurisdiction over incidents in federal waters.
“We question the jurisdiction and authority of the CSB to conduct an investigation in this matter,” states the letter to Don Holmstrom, a top investigator with the CSB.
The CSB is an independent federal agency that probes industrial accidents, including the fatal March 2005 explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery.
Michael Bromwich, the Interior Department’s top offshore drilling regulator, has also raised questions about the CSB’s probe of the BP oil spill.
Transocean owned the rig that was drilling BP’s ill-fated Macondo well. Bertone has previously testified before a joint Interior Department-U.S. Coast Guard probe of the accident, which is one of multiple investigations.
The CSB announced its separate investigation in a June 18 letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who had requested the board’s probe.
The June 18 letter to Waxman defended the CSB’s authority, noting, “as we stated to you in our letter of May 7 we are of the opinion that we have the legal authority to investigate this accident.”
London’s letter to the CSB requests a copy of board’s May 7 letter. London told E2 Wire that he has not received a response from the CSB to his letter thus far.
CSB spokesman Sandy Gilmour defended the board’s oversight.
He said the rig is a “fixed facility” under its purview, and listed other factors that give the board a role, including the explosion of hydrocarbons and the fatalities. “This accident comes under the statutory purview governing when the CSB is not only authorized to, but required to investigate certain chemical accidents,” he said.
Gilmour said he would inquire about making the May 7 document available to E2 Wire, and referred to it as an internal CSB opinion drafted by a CSB attorney.


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