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‘Systemic’ problems that led to Gulf spill could recur: panel

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WASHINGTON — The deadly Gulf of Mexico oil spill was the result of “systemic” management problems and could recur if reforms are not embraced, a US presidential panel probing the disaster said Wednesday.

The assessment by the National Oil Spill Commission was in a chapter from its report on the deadly April 20, 2010, blowout of BP’s Macondo well, which killed 11 workers and for nearly three months spewed more than four million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

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The blowout “was the product of several individual missteps and oversights by BP, Halliburton, and Transocean, which government regulators lacked the authority, the necessary resources, and the technical expertise to prevent,” read the advance chapter.

Offshore drilling group Transocean owned the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon platform that sank in the accident. Oil services giant Halliburton in October admitted skipping a key cement test before the blowout, but blamed BP for not testing the integrity of the job.

The root causes of the blowout “are systemic and, absent significant reform in both industry practices and government policies, might well recur,” the chapter read. The full report is due out on January 11.

The chapter also notes, “Whether purposeful or not, many of the decisions that BP, Halliburton, and Transocean made that increased the risk of the Macondo blowout clearly saved those companies significant time (and money).”

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The findings “only compound our sense of tragedy because we know now that the blowout of the Macondo well was avoidable,” said former Florida senator Bob Graham, the commission co-chair.

“This disaster likely would not have happened had the companies involved been guided by an unrelenting commitment to safety first. And it likely would not have happened if the responsible governmental regulators had the capacity and will to demand world class safety standards.”

According to the report, the Macondo well blew out when a series of “separate risk factors, oversights, and outright mistakes combined to overwhelm the safeguards” designed to prevent such an event.

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“But most of the mistakes and oversights at Macondo can be traced back to a single overarching failure — a failure of management,” the report said.

“Better management by BP, Halliburton, and Transocean would almost certainly have prevented the blowout by improving the ability of individuals involved to identify the risks they faced, and to properly evaluate, communicate, and address them,” the report said.

“Given the documented failings of both Transocean and Halliburton, both of which serve the off shore industry in virtually every ocean, I reluctantly conclude we have a system-wide problem,” said commission co-chair, former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator William Reilly.

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The seven-member panel was set up by US President Barack Obama and tasked with finding out what caused the accident.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Has anything changed since Burning Man’s sex assault and labor issues were exposed?

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The last weekend in August marks the start of Burning Man, a week-long, festival in the Nevada desert consisting of freewheeling performance art, fanciful costumes, and a lot of drugs. The anarchic party with more than 50,000 attendees constitutes a pilgrimage for many attendees, lured by the promise of leaving the “default world” behind in exchange for a transformative or even spiritual experience.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

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Truckers are facing a ‘bloodbath’ in their industry — and it’s turning many in the pro-Trump group against him: report

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Truckers are numerous, conservative, and hurting. And despite their widespread support for Donald Trump’s candidacy in 2016, a new report from Business Insider suggests the pain in the industry might be turning these workers away from the president.

The political trends in trucking are not insignificant. According to the American Trucking Associations, there were an estimated 3.5 million truck drivers in 2018. RTS Financial has found that there are 7.4 million jobs total “tied to the trucking industry.” And Business Insider reported that nearly 90 percent of truckers are registered voters, higher than the general population.

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WATCH: Trump’s collusion with Russia is now a topic for impeachment — along with obstruction and racism

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President Donald Trump's interactions with Russia are now a topic of the impeachment investigation.

"There was an important development in support for impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives today," MSNBC anchor Lawrence O'Donnell reported Tuesday. "Important both in who the new support comes from and what that support is based on."

"Congresswoman Lauren Underwood of Illinois is one of the freshmen Democrats who flipped a Republican district last year in winning her election. She brings the total number of House Democrats supporting impeachment now to 126 -- a majority of the Democrats' 235 members of the House," he explained.

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