Bennet: DOJ Right to Launch Investigation into Oil Rig Explosion, Oil Spill

In Letter to DOJ, Bennet Called for Investigation into Money Transfers by Owner of Destroyed Oil Rig

Washington, DC – Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, welcomed the announcement of criminal investigation into the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The announcement by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder comes on the heels of Bennet’s letter calling on the Department of Justice to investigate the owner of the destroyed oil rig, Transocean Ltd., after reports that it intended to distribute $1 billion to private shareholders.

“Transocean, along with BP and Halliburton, must be held fully accountable for the mess they’ve created in the Gulf,” said Bennet.  “I hope that this investigation can get to the bottom of what happened and what laws were broken.  I also hope the investigation will cast a wide net that includes a look into Transocean’s reported money transfers to private investors.  We cannot sit back and allow companies to dole out profits to shareholders while families, businesses, and coastal communities in the Gulf suffer.”

The announcement to distribute dividends to shareholders came only hours after a closed-door meeting of company executives and weeks after the Transocean-owned Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sunk into the Gulf of Mexico.  

In a letter sent last week, Bennet and 17 other senators argued that the move by Transocean could further enhance the company’s protection from lawsuits and may make it harder for those negatively affected by the spill to seek claims against the company.

Transocean, in addition to limiting its liability for the oil spill, could even make money off this arrangement – possibly even $270 million – because the insurance policy on Deepwater Horizon substantially exceeds its actual value.