"Failure of Rig’s Last Line of Defense Tied to Myriad Factors"

The failure of a key device on the blowout preventer was one of many factors leading to the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill. Documents and inquiries have shed light on the chain of events leading up to this failure. A New York Times investigation reveals the chasm between oil-industry assertions about blowout-preventer reliability and the actual facts -- as well as a gap between the Obama administration's efforts to reform drilling regulation and its actual performance.

Source: NYTimes, 06/21/2010

Lawmakers Overseeing Gulf Spill Firms Held Oil, Gas Stock

"Nearly 30 members of the congressional committees overseeing oil and gas companies held personal assets in the industry totaling $9 million to $14.5 million late last year. That included at least $400,000 in the three companies at the heart of the Gulf of Mexico oil-drilling disaster, according to a Washington Post analysis of financial disclosure forms released Wednesday."

Source: Wash Post, 06/18/2010

Rep. Joe Barton Apologizes to BP

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) turned a hearing with BP CEO Tony Hayward on its head Thursday by apologizing to BP for what he called a "$20 billion shakedown." Democrats made political hay. Republicans scrambled to distance themselves. Under threat from GOP leaders of losing his job as top House Energy Republican, Barton returned to the hearing to apologize for apologizing. It later emerged that Barton's "shakedown" talking point had been crafted by the Republican Study Committee, a conservative faction that includes 115 of the 178 GOP House members. Barton got more than $100,000 in campaign contributions from the oil industry during this election cycle -- and his top single corporate contributor is Anadarko, which is a 25% stakeholder in the gushing Macondo well. Hayward, while apologetic himself, dodged the panel's questions.

Source: CBS News, 06/18/2010

"Chemical Security Advocates See New Opening to Rework Bush-Era Rules"

Petrochemical companies like BP won a key battle in achieving unpoliced self-regulation early in the Bush administration -- when they got friends in Congress and the White House to shut EPA out of chemical safety and security oversight. As public health advocates point to possible disasters more lethal than the Gulf spill, there may be an opportunity to reverse the federal government's decisions not to protect the public from petrochemical disasters.

Source: Greenwire, 06/17/2010


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