Oil-spill commission says ‘culture of complacency’ led to BP oil disaster

Brett Michael Dykes
National Affairs Reporter
The Upshot

The commission set up by President Obama to investigate the BP oil spill isn't supposed to render its final report until January, but it's been trickling out some of its findings in recent weeks. The latest conclusion to surface: a "culture of complacency" shared among all the major players in the Gulf crisis — BP, Halliburton and Transocean — led to the catastrophic spill.

In an interview with Neela Banerjee of the Los Angeles Times, the commission's co-chairs — former EPA administrator William K. Reilly and former Democratic Senator Bob Graham — said that an inexplicable "suite of bad decisions" contributed to the onset of the disaster.

"Each company is responsible for one or more egregiously bad decisions," Reilly told the paper. Graham added that "leaders did not take serious risks seriously enough and did not identify a risk that proved to be fatal."

Of course, most Gulf Coast residents can be forgiven for wondering why it took a presidential commission to reach such a patently obvious conclusion — or why they should be surprised by yesterday's news that, in an interview with the BBC, former BP CEO Tony Hayward pronounced BP's handling of the whole mess was "inadequate."