Led by an Acadiana lawmaker, it took a Senate committee only a few minutes late Tuesday afternoon to approve a set of subpoenas for Transocean officials. 

In a rare legislative move, the Senate Natural Resources Committee voted unanimously to issue subpoenas for officials from Transocean Ltd., the company that owns the Deepwater Horizon Rig that was leased to BP.

According to Sen. Nick Gautreaux, D-Abbeville, Transocean officials told the committee that they would not be sending a representative to a planned briefing Thursday morning because there are a series of conflicting hearings being conducted the same day in Washington, D.C.

With both BP and Halliburton, which cemented the well prior to the April 20 explosion, on the agenda, Gautreaux says Transocean has no excuse not to be at the witness table. “I might add that BP has people over there [for the Washington hearing], and they’re coming [to Baton Rouge],” Gautreaux says. “Also, Halliburton has people over there, and they’re coming. It just seems like Transocean is the only one who doesn’t want to come.”


The state constitution gives the committee the authority to issue subpoenas, but its approving vote was only the first step in the process. After the committee endorsed the motion, Senate President Joel Chaisson, D-Destrehan, whose district includes the Thibodaux region, was required to sign off on the order. A sergeant-at-arms, one of the legislative officers responsible for providing security at the State Capitol, was then charged with delivering the subpoenas.

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