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8 probes into Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill

Cleanup and containment efforts continue at the Gulf of Mexico site of the oil spill following the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

The April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig and the massive oil spill that has stemmed from the accident have prompted eight formal investigations so far, and more could be coming. They address two basic questions: What went wrong with BP's drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico, and what can be done to prevent a similar disaster? Legislative and regulatory reforms are sure to follow these probes, and their findings will become part of the legal fight over who bears responsibility.

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Probe: Marine Board of Investigation.

Who's in charge: Coast Guard and Minerals Management Service.

Focus: To identify the factors leading to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit.

Powers: Ability to subpoena, call witnesses.

* * *

Probe: Interior Department Outer Continental Shelf Safety Board.

Who's in charge: Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Wilma Lewis, Interior Inspector General Mary Kendall and Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget Rhea Suh.

Focus: Safety rules and oversight for offshore drilling.

Powers: No subpoena power, but according to an Interior aide, the board "is able to get whatever documents they will need to complete their investigation."

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