Washington Post: Criminal probe of oil spill to focus on 3 firms and their ties to regulators

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A team of federal investigators known as the "BP squad" is assembling in New Orleans to conduct a wide-ranging criminal probe that will focus on at least three companies and examine whether their cozy relations with federal regulators contributed to the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, according to law enforcement and other sources.

The squad at the FBI offices includes investigators from the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard and other federal agencies, the sources said. In addition to BP, the firms at the center of the inquiry are Transocean, which leased the Deepwater Horizon rig to BP, and engineering giant Halliburton, which had finished cementing the well only 20 hours before the rig exploded April 20, sources said.

While it was known that investigators are examining potential violations of environmental laws, it is now clear that they are also looking into whether company officials made false statements to regulators, obstructed justice or falsified test results for devices such as the rig's failed blowout preventer. It is unclear whether any such evidence has surfaced.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeThe U.S. GovernmentEnergy, Natural Resources--The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Posted July 28, 2010 at 7:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Br. Michael wrote:

They should also investigate for improper political influence on the regulators too.

July 28, 9:53 am | [comment link]
2. flaanglican wrote:

If they were honest, they’d put the focus back on themselves and other environmental activists who forced companies to explore in deep water to begin with because we can’t explore in shallower waters (e.g. 500 feet deep) or on land (e.g. ANWR).  But that won’t happen.  That’s not to excuse any shortcuts BP may have attempted with their well but we wouldn’t have had these problems to begin with if drilling locations weren’t so restricted.

July 28, 10:47 am | [comment link]
3. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

And don’t forget the power of the political agenda.  Drilling for oil in deep deep water is state the art, cutting edge technology.  In some cases the regulations may not have kept up with the advancing challenges.  And so the regulators have to go on a witchhunt to justify their failed existence.
Maybe it’s just as well that we are not going to the moon again.  What new regulatory agencies would have to be created to “manage” that enterprise?

July 28, 1:22 pm | [comment link]
4. palagious wrote:

Maybe FERC shouldn’t be funded by fees from the industry?  This has been going on for decades.  The regulators are industry people on a leave of absence.  Don’t hate the playa, hate the game.

July 28, 4:38 pm | [comment link]
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