Monday, November 08, 2010

I'm speechless

There is a dent on the floor of my office where my jaw landed after reading this in the NYT:

The lead investigator for the presidential panel investigating the BP oil spill said on Monday that he had found no evidence of shortcuts taken to save money by anyone involved in drilling the doomed well.

Excuse me? No evidence?!? It's one thing to say that the totality of the evidence favors the conclusion that BP did not trade safety for dollars, but that there is no evidence that BP did so is absurd on its face. You'd have to be living in a cave for the last six months to not see evidence that BP cut corners to save money. For example, this is from the Wall Street Journal, hardly an obscure source, nor prone to publish unfair attacks against big businesses:

A Wall Street Journal investigation provides the most complete account so far of the fateful decisions that preceded the blast. BP made choices over the course of the project that rendered this well more vulnerable to the blowout, which unleashed a spew of crude oil that engineers are struggling to stanch.

BP, for instance, cut short a procedure involving drilling fluid that is designed to detect gas in the well and remove it before it becomes a problem, according to documents belonging to BP and to the drilling rig's owner and operator, Transocean Ltd.

BP also skipped a quality test of the cement around the pipe—another buffer against gas—despite what BP now says were signs of problems with the cement job and despite a warning from cement contractor Halliburton Co.

Words fail me. What possible reason could there be to cut corners like this other than to save money? I thought the Obama administration was going to put an end to this kind of brazen denial of reality.

1 comment:

Robert said...

To be totally fair, here is a direct quote from the lead investigator: "To date we have not seen a single instance where a human being made a conscious decision to favor dollars over safety"

Yes, decisions were made to save money.

All the investigator is saying is that when the decisions were made it did not enter into the conscious of the decision maker that the decision would negatively impact safety.

First, there is no way to really KNOW that. I'm pretty sure in the back of some peoples heads they probably did consider and then dismiss the safety aspect. It's just gonna be damned near impossible to prove that.

Even if was true that safety impacts were not considered, that just makes things worse.

It means they were under so much pressure to take the shortcuts, that they didn't even 'think' about safety impacts. They just made the decision.