BP rig's blowout preventer known to be inadequate, House panel says

The blowout preventer on the BP platform spilling crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico was poorly maintained and wasn't powerful enough to shear through the pipe it was intended to cut in an emergency, the House Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittee on oversight said. The device had a dead battery, a leaking hydraulic system and a "useless" test version of a key component, the panel found. A test performed prior to the explosion on the rig revealed potential danger, according to Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the full committee's chairman.

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