US appeals court: Federal Chemical Safety Board can probe offshore oil spills, including BP's

Associated Press

In a case with potentially far-reaching consequences, a federal appeals court has again found that the U.S. Chemical Safety Board has the authority to investigate offshore oil spills.

The board has been looking into the catastrophic blowout of a BP PLC well five years ago in the Gulf of Mexico. The drilling company, Transocean Deepwater Drilling Inc., contends that the board lacks authority to demand its documents.

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On Thursday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Transocean's request for the full court to reconsider a three-judge panel's decision that the board does have authority to investigate offshore oil spills.

BP's Macondo well blew wild on April 20, 2010, killing 11 people and causing the nation's worst offshore oil spill.