Sunday, July 11, 2010

Charge of the Oil Brigade

The charge for Obama's Oil Spew Commission continues to evolve in the media.

1. President Obama started off with a thorough investigation of causes.

2. The White House shifted to focusing on government's cozy relationship with the oil industry.

3. Bloomberg
cited it would "review safety procedures."

4. WSJ cited the view of co-chair William Reilly:

"The question we have is, is this a one-off event [caused by] a series of bad decisions" or evidence of broader "systemic issues" in the industry, Mr. Reilly said. He said the panel intends to examine the "organizational characteristics" of the companies, the industry and the government regulators involved, and "the culture that may have induced the decisions" that contributed to the accident.
This echoes the Baker report on BP's Texas City Refinery explosion, which killed 15. James A. Baker blamed a "misplaced culture of safety."

5. NOLA reported the deepwater drilling moratorium would be out of bounds. Co-chairs said the group would focus on "basic concerns" like:

Figure out the root causes of the catastrophic oil well blowout on April 20, determine if they were unique to that BP operation or systemic across the whole deepwater drilling industry and then recommend to Congress and the president the best way to alter policy to improve safety and preparedness for any future spills.

The commission is also looking at the response of industry and government to the spill, and when it comes to the possibility of filing interim reports within the next six months, Reilly said he's most interested in drawing quick conclusions about the environmental impact of chemical dispersants that are now being used in unprecedented volumes.

How can one draw quick conclusions regarding a long term environmental catastrophe? Those could benefit BP as it defines its maximum liability for the spill.

6. Co-chair William Reilly weighed in from Gulfport, Mississippi, his first contact with the oil spill.

"The president appointed a seven member commission on the oil spill with three essential purposes. One, to figure out what happened; secondly, figure out what to do so that it doesn't happen again; and three, what should be the future of off shore oil and gas," Reilly said.

A TV reporter said:

"Reilly hopes the Commission can quiet some of the bad press that he says is keeping tourists away from the beach."
Funny, Reilly said nothing of what he saw at the Deepwater Horizon spill site. The SunHerald reported:

Commission Co-Chair William K. Reilly is scheduled to take a National Guard flight with state DMR officials to inspect the Deepwater Horizon rig site and oiled Gulf waters off Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. Reilly will speak with members of the state’s tourism and seafood industries and then meet the press at 1:20 p.m. at Ken Combs Pier.

7. As for the six month time frame, one commission co-chair already weighed in:

Reilly said the commission won't be able to meet the six-month deadline established by Obama.

Oil Spew Commission members are scattered around the Gulf, but will meet in New Orleans. Public meetings are on tap for Monday and Tuesday. One might expect them to have a clear, stated aim. Maybe one will evolve while the spate of investigations progress.

No comments: