Sunday, June 06, 2010

We the People Need to Know What is Happening and Why…

With the US investigation of what happened at BP and its failed deep-water oil rig only beginning, the public should not be shy in its demands for full disclosure of the evidence and findings. The BP oil spill has placed society on notice that egregious engineering and risk management decisions are placing our nation and world increasingly at risk. I therefore echo the call by Dr Nansen G Saleri of Quantum Reservoir Impact for a thorough public investigation into the BP oil spill disaster:
What is needed is a scientific, thorough and apolitical investigation headed possibly by the National Academy of Sciences and drawing in experts from the oil and gas industry as well as the government agencies involved. The investigation must also evaluate the entire post-accident response effort led by BP in cooperation with local, state and federal agencies.

Some questions that must be diligently probed by investigators are: 1) Why did the blowout preventers—the massive valve assemblies designed to stop an uncontrolled flow—fail? And what are their reliability statistics? 2) Were the redundant safety systems truly redundant? It seems obvious they weren't, but this has to be verified. 3) How well trained was the crew? 4) Were the safety systems and contingency plans in place commensurate with the immense values of the total assets at risk—human, material and environmental? 5) Did operational and cost-cutting practices compromise safety?
The ecological and environmental catastrophe now underway in the Gulf of Mexico, coupled with the ongoing monetary crisis that has gripped global markets, are clear evidence that the decisions of governments and multi-national corporations are placing society and our world increasingly at risk. We the people need to know what is happening and why…

Source: Saleri, N G (2010, May 7), Learn From the BP Disaster, Then Drill Again, Wall Street Journal Online.

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