U.S. Chemical Safety Board Wants More Testing on Gulf Oil Spill Blowout Preventer

NEW ORLEANS, La. – Federal investagators told the media last Friday that there is "potentially a fundamental safety design problem with the pod system" that controls the blowout preventer, or BOP that was used to stop the Gulf oil spill. They want more testing in order to confirm their suspicions. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board objected to the government's decision to halt testing of the blowout preventer on Friday. Testing on the equipment shouldn't end today as scheduled, according to a letter sent to the U.S. Coast Guard and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. "We urge you to consider restarting the BOP testing as soon as possible, so that these failures can be thoroughly evaluated and communicated to the drilling industry," the Chemical Safety Board said in the letter. Bloomberg reports: The blowout preventer, a stack of valves sitting on the top of the well, was supposed to cut off the flow of gas before it went out of control. Metal blades inside the stack failed to slice and crimp the pipe connecting the well to the rig when workers realized a blowout was occurring, according to testimony before a joint U.S. Coast Guard-Interior Department investigative panel. The system was manufactured by Cameron International Corp. (CAM) Rhonda Barnat, a spokeswoman for Houston-based Cameron, declined to comment. The Chemical Safety Board, an independent federal agency, runs one of at least four investigations the U.S. undertook into the BP well blast. The U.S. Justice Department and the Interior Department are also probing the accident, and a panel appointed by President Barack Obama to analyze the accident published their findings on Jan. 11 without testing the blowout preventer. Investigators have already "performed the tests necessary to determine why the blowout preventer stack did not function as intended on April 20," the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said in an e-mailed statement today. The Coast Guard public affairs office didn't return a call during office hours today. Published by Louisiana maritime lawyer

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