'Errors and misjudgements'

The landmark report into the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico calls for a new era of greater safety in offshore drilling.

    The White House commission that's been looking into the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has formally published its landmark report. 
    The final document looks just like a book and it's about the same size as a small novel.
    The report calls for urgent reform of the oil and gas industry as well as government practices to overhaul safety in US offshore drilling.

    Last week the commission's main findings were leaked to the media - a culture of cost-cutting and weak management was blamed.

    On Tuesday, the message that Deepwater Horizon could happen again - was reinforced by Commission co-chairman Bob Graham.

    "Our investigation found significant errors and misjudgements by three major oil drilling companies - BP, Halliburton and Transocean - these culminated in the disaster," he said.

    The commission's report also calls for a thorough overhaul of government oversight in the US oil industry citing Europe as an example of good practice where there's one death for every five in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Mr Graham said. "Our government let it happen, our regulators were consistently outmatched."

    The commission gave its main recommendations to stop another Deepwater Horizon from happening again.

    They include:

     1. The creation of an independent safety agency within the department of the interior.

    2. A safety institute to foster better practice and funded by the oil and gas industry.

    3. Drilling operators to be made more financially responsible for the consequences of failure.

    4. More consultation among federal agencies like the coastguard.

    5. A more prominent role for science. 

    Science has been virtually shut out of oil and gas drilling according to co-chair Bob Graham.

    "This is the time, as Three Mile Island was for the nuclear industry to say enough is enough we're going to set a new era of greater safety," he said.

    But many fear the Commission's report will gather dust in the halls of congress like many others. Commission co-chair William K. Reilly told me: "I would hope that given the platform of research here and the credibility that this report should win and has deserved they will pay attention to this."

    I said, "You're going to make a lot of noise?"

    "We're going to make some noise!" he laughed.
    eilly's also recommending congress gives back 80 per cent of the fines paid following the disaster to the Gulf of Mexico region.

    So now the politicians know what happened and they have recommendations to stop it occuring again. 

    Meanwhile, in all five Gulf states there are thousands of people still picking up the pieces of their lives - lives wrecked by an accident the BP Oil Spill Commision report says the US oil and gas industry was unprepared for. 


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