BP, Transocean and Halliburton all share responsibility for the deadly explosion that resulted in the April 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, according to the final federal report on the matter released Wednesday.
A federal court ordered the Obama administration Thursday to act on five deep water drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico within 30 days, calling the delays in issuing new decisions "unreasonable, unacceptable, and unjustified."
Interior Department officials announced an extensive restructuring of the agencies that oversee offshore oil drilling Wednesday, pledging "fundamental change" for a system widely criticized after the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
The deepwater drilling moratorium is over. Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Salazar announced today that the ban on leases for new drilling operations, first issued on May 28, is ending over a month before the November 30 deadline. He and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management director Michael Bromwich announced the end of the moratorium today on a 1:00 pm media conference call. "We are open for business," Salazar said.
On Monday, the Obama administration issued a policy mandating that employees of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management -- one of the three agencies spawned from the MMS -- disclose personal relationships with employees of companies that they regulate. When BOEM workers identify a conflict of interest, they are supposed to opt out of regulating in that situation. Industry workers and regulators in the Gulf often have the same social circles and live in the same communities. It's going to be tough for the government to watch them closely.
Federal inspectors responsible for offshore oil well safety sometimes mistakenly presumed that other agencies had fully certified that a proposed drilling platform was suitable for the job, officials discovered Thursday.
An alarm system on the Deepwater Horizon had been "inhibited" for about a year before the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers and started the worst oil disaster in the nation's history, the platform's chief electronics technician testified to a federal panel Friday.
BP America Inc. has been fined nearly $5.2 million for submitting "false, inaccurate and misleading" reports on energy production on Southern Ute Indian tribal lands in southwestern Colorado, the Department of Interior said Wednesday.