Federal investigative panel gets 60-day extension until March to issue Gulf oil spill report


MIAMI – A federal panel investigating the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is getting 60 extra days to complete its report partly because more time is needed to do forensic testing.

A key piece of evidence — the blowout preventer that failed to stop BP’s well from gushing into the sea — was lifted from the ocean floor on Sept. 4 and later taken to a NASA facility in New Orleans.

But the testing has been held up because of how long it has taken to develop protocols and get input from interested parties.

The deadline for the joint U.S. Coast Guard-Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement investigative panel’s report has been extended from Jan. 27 to March 27.

The panel’s final public hearing is set for the week of Jan. 24.

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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