Appeals court rejects delay of spill subpoenas

A federal appeals court has denied Transocean’s request to delay enforcement of subpoenas from a federal agency investigating  the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board has been seeking additional documents from Transocean related to the accident, which killed 11 workers and spilled millions of  barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Transocean owned the Deepwater Horizon rig that  was working on BP’s undersea Macondo well when it blew out.

Transocean  sought to delay enforcement of the Chemical Safety Board subpoenas while it appeals  a  Houston federal judge’s order to comply with them.

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In its ruling this week denying the stay, a three-judge 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel  said Transocean “failed to justify making the government and the public wait any longer” for the safety board’s  report and recommendations.

The Chemical Safety Board investigates accidental releases of harmful gases and makes recommendations for changes that could improve operations and save lives.

The court said further delays  could cause the board to miss opportunities  to prevent another accident.

Transocean argued that the board had no jurisdiction to investigate the accident.

The panel ruling on the case comprised Judges Carolyn Dineen King, Edith Brown Clement, Stephen A. Higginson.