Monday, November 15, 2010

A Culture of Carelessness

New York Times
November 14, 2010

Though its final report is two months away, the presidential commission investigating the gulf oil spill is beginning to confirm what we already suspected and feared. The April blowout on the Deepwater Horizon was not some unfortunate occurrence. It was the result of a series of bad decisions by companies less concerned about safety than about finishing a project that was over budget and 38 days behind schedule.

The commission’s preliminary findings, presented last week, were inevitably sketchy. It has been operating without subpoena powers that could more quickly clear up conflicting accounts given by the three big players — BP, Hallibuton and Transocean. The House has granted these powers; the Senate has not. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, must correct that.

The findings did not single out individual workers or executives for blame. The panel’s chief counsel, Fred Bartlit Jr., said that so far his staff had not found “a single instance where a human being made a conscious decision to favor dollars over safety.”


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