Commentary: Gulf oil spill report proves prevention is everything

The Anchorage Daily NewsSeptember 15, 2011 

The most exhaustive report to date about the Deepwater Horizon explosion lays most of the blame on decisions and practices by BP. The report also holds other companies responsible. But the federal investigation by the Coast Guard and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement puts BP front and center.

Two criticisms are particularly telling, both for conclusions about this disaster and warnings to prevent others.

One is that company managers made some decisions "blindly," skipping safety routines that might have alerted them and others to potential dangers.

The second is the report's conclusion that BP jeopardized safety to cut costs. Investigators noted that performance evaluations noted cost savings by 13 workers on the Macondo well.

Safety procedures can be time-consuming and expensive. They cut into the bottom line.

Had they been followed on the Deepwater Horizon in work on the Macondo well, 11 oil rig workers likely would still be alive. Two hundred million gallons of crude oil likely would not have spilled into gulf waters.

Shell might already be exploring in Alaska's Arctic waters.

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