Congressmen Press BP for More Answers

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New evidence has emerged in the past days about the events leading up to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig. A congressional committee released a report on its findings about what happened on the rig before the blast, but today they want to know what BP might have been keeping from them.

In a tersely worded letter to Lamar McKay, president of BP America, Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) demanded that the company turn over more information related to its internal investigation:

We are concerned about issues that were omitted from BP’s presentation and letter. In today’s New York Times and Wall Street Journal, questions are raised about several decisions made by BP that could have led to well failure, including the decisions to use a type of casing that could allow gas to flow up the annular space to the wellhead, to limit the number of spacers centering the casing despite objections by Halliburton, and to curtail the length of time that drilling fluids were circulated to clean gas out of the well. Neither BP’s presentation nor its letter contains any discussion of these issues.

This raises the possibility that BP’s internal investigation is not examining the consequences of BP’s own decisions and conduct.

The Committee’s investigation is examining all potential causes of the blowout, including those that are the responsibility of BP. To assist the Committee in this investigation, we ask that you provide the Committee with additional information about the issues raised by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Specifically, we request that you provide the Committee:

  1. All documents related to BP’s casing strategy for the Macondo well, including the decision to use a single casing line comprised of sections attached to one another from the sea floor to the oil reservoir;
  2. All documents related to BP’s decisions regarding the use and number of spacers centering the casing line prior to cementing; and
  3. All documents related to BP’s decision concerning how long to circulate drilling mud through the well on April 19, 2010, prior to cementing.

(If you appreciate our BP spill coverage, please consider making a tax-deductible donation in support.)

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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