doc hastings
© AP photoRep. Doc Hastings (AP photo)

The government's chief investigation into last year's Deepwater Horizon disaster will not be complete by a July 27 deadline, officials confirmed Friday.

The probe by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement has already received two extensions, partly because of delays in testing emergency equipment that failed to stop the Gulf oil spill. In February, the government said it was aiming to issue the report by July 27.

Joint investigation team members now are putting the final touches on a report summarizing their conclusions about what led to the lethal explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig in April 2010.

"To ensure that all evidence is properly weighed and considered, the JIT is taking additional time to finalize the report," said Eileen Angelico, a spokeswoman for the joint investigation team. "The team is in the final stages of completing its report and expects to release it in the near future."

Although it is not clear when the government will issue its findings, Angelico stressed that the group "is working diligently to complete its report."

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., blasted the delay.

"The government has repeatedly delayed this report and we are well past the time when clear answers are needed," Hastings said in a statement. "Congress and the American people expect the agencies to complete their work and tell us the facts they have discovered through the investigation."

As chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Hastings has stressed that Congress needs "all the facts surrounding the cause of this tragic event before jumping to conclusions and passing reforms with long-term consequences." He has insisted that major spill-inspired reforms be driven by impartial conclusions about what went wrong at BP's failed Macondo well.

"We have information from numerous other reports, but the Coast Guard and BOEMRE must move swiftly to issue their report to provide Congress and the American people with a complete picture about what happened," Hastings said.

The joint Coast Guard and BOEMRE probe is one of several investigations of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, including a few that are still ongoing. The National Academy of Engineering and the Chemical Safety Board are still investigating.

A presidential commission investigating the spill concluded in January that the disaster revealed "systemic" failures by the offshore drilling industry and federal regulators.