New Members, Deepwater Horizon Board

Monday, August 23, 2010

Deepwater Horizon Joint Investigation Co-Chairs J. David Dykes (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement) and Captain Hung Nguyen (U.S. Coast Guard) announced that U.S. District Judge (Ret.) Wayne R. Andersen and U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Mark R. Higgins will be joining the Deepwater Horizon Joint Investigation Team.  The addition of Judge Andersen and Capt. Higgins will increase the depth and diversity of the team, drawing on their vast expertise in managing and facilitating complex proceedings.

The public hearings in this matter began on May 11, 2010, and have continued during the weeks of May 26 and July 19.  The next hearings are scheduled to take place beginning on August 23, 2010, in Houston, Texas.

“The addition of Judge Andersen and Capt. Higgins to the Joint Investigation Team will enhance our work and help us to move expeditiously through the proceedings.  They will assist us with some of the legal and procedural issues they are experienced, and allow the other members of the team to continue to focus on gathering the facts,” said Dykes.  “They are welcome additions to our team.”

Andersen is a retired U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois, where he served from 1991- July 2010.  He is currently a mediator and arbitrator for JAMS, a national alternative dispute resolution provider.  He previously served as Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County and Deputy Secretary of State of Illinois.  He received his law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1970 and an undergraduate degree in government, cum laude, from Harvard University in 1967.  He is donating his time and will not receive compensation for his service on the team.

Higgins is currently serving as the Staff Judge Advocate for the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area.  He serves as regional counsel for all legal issues within the Atlantic Area, including operations and international maritime issues involving five Coast Guard Districts and Coast Guard operations in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.  He also serves as a military judge.  He received his law degree, cum laude, from the University of Miami in 1989 and an undergraduate degree in civil engineering, with honors, from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1983.

In response to the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano directed the Minerals Management Service, now the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM), and the U.S. Coast Guard to conduct a joint investigation in accordance with a pre-existing Memorandum of Agreement.  The facts collected at the hearings, along with the lead investigators’ conclusions and recommendations, will be presented in a final investigative report.

The Joint Investigation Team is comprised of both BOEM and Coast Guard personnel exercising both agencies’ authorities.  In addition to the co-chairs, members include: Lt. Robert Butts, Coast Guard; Jason Mathews, BOEM; John McCarroll, BOEM; and Ross Wheatley, Coast Guard.

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