Chris Dickerson Apr. 2, 2013, 2:58pm

HOUSTON (Legal Newsline) -- A federal judge has dismissed Transocean's request to dismiss subpoenas for records of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal also said the independent Chemical Safety Board could investigate the accident.

The CSB had issued five subpoenas to Transocean to learn more about the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig accident on April 20, 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico. Transocean argued that the CSB wasn't authorized to investigate offshore accidents and oil spills. It also said it already had supplied most of the information to the federal government and Coast Guard.

While the federal law that created the CSB didn't allow it to probe oil spills, it said it was looking at the cause of the explosion rather than the spill.

"In sum, the CSB has shown that it has jurisdiction to investigate," Rosenthal wrote. "The subpoenas the CSB issued are within its authority.
"Because Transocean raised no challenge to the subpoenas other than the argument that the CSB exceeded its statutory authority, the motion to dismiss or to quash the subpoenas must be denied."

In a statement, the CSB expressed pleasure with Rosenthal's ruling.

The CSB's investigation has been taking a broad look at the causes of the Gulf tragedy," the statement said. "The issues include how the industry and the regulating agencies learned or did not learn from previous incidents. The report also examines the lack of human factors guidance for offshore production, the reliance on manual safety controls instead of automated systems, and organizational issues that can impair effective engineering decisions.

"We are also examining the implementation of effective corporate governance and sustainability standards to address safety and environmental risk. The Court's decision affirms what we always believed - that the CSB has the legal authority and, indeed, the duty to thoroughly investigate the Gulf tragedy."

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