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BP denies cuts that compromised safety


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BP denies cuts that compromised safety

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WASHINGTON – The presidential commission investigating the BP Gulf oil spill challenged claims in Congress that the oil company and others sacrificed safety to cut costs.
In preliminary findings issued yesterday, the first from an independent panel, investigators supported many of BP’s own conclusions about what led to the disaster.
The panel’s chief investigator, Fred H. Bartlit Jr., announced 13 principal findings, many of which seemed to track with investigations of the blowout, including BP’s. Bartlit said he agreed with “about 90 per cent” of the company’s own conclusions.
Under commission procedures, Bartlit presented the findings to the seven-member panel. A report is due with Obama in mid-January.
One determination in particular challenges the narrative that has dominated the headlines and Democratic probes in Congress since the April 20 incident killed 11 and unleashed more than 200 million gallons of crude oil from theblown-out well: that BP made perilous choices to save money.
“We see no instance where a decision-making person or group of people sat there aware of safety risks, aware of costsand opted to give up safety for costs,” Bartlit said.
“We do not say everything done was perfectly safe. We’re saying that people have said people traded safety for dollars. We studied the hell out of this. We welcome anybody who gives us something we missed.”
Bartlit said that despite the pressure of operating a $1.5-million-a-day rig, workers ultimately don’t want to risk their lives or the lives of others.
“Anytime you are talking about a million-and-a-half dollars a day money enters in,” he said. “All I am saying is human beings did not sit there and sell safety down the river for dollars on the rig that night.”
Representatives from the three main companies working on the rig – Transocean, BP and Halliburton – agreed.
Critics immediately complained. Daniel Becnel, a Louisiana lawyer suing BP and others, called the commission’s finding “absolutely absurd.”  (AP)

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