Plunging into Deep Water

Although Government Book Talk tries to cover Government publications of all eras, we do like to jump on hot new titles, especially when they cover subjects of broad public interest. They don’t get any hotter than Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling. This report from the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling was printed in-house here at GPO and released to the public just yesterday.

Given the proverbially slow pace at which Government supposedly moves, I’d say that this Commission got its work done very expeditiously and thoroughly. it’s fair to say that one word sums up many of its key findings – complacency – on the part of the oil industry and government. According to the report, BP, for example, was quite conscious of the need for safe practices for individuals, but not for processes, despite a recent history of major accidents: Grangemouth in Scotland (2000), North Sea (2003), and the deadly Texas City refinery explosion (2005). The Commission also found fault with BP’s contractors, Halliburton and Transocean, and the Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service and other Government entities with responsibility for regulation and oversight. (In thumbing through this document, I also realized that, even though I consider myself relatively well informed about current events, I had quite forgotten the Texas City disaster, which cost more lives than the Deepwater Horizon accident.)

I also liked the Commission’s decision to add sidebars that allowed the victims of the oil spill – businesspeople, fishermen, and residents – to speak frankly and sometimes emotionally about the toll it took on their lives and livelihoods. In our culture of 24/7 news and quasi-news, it’s easy to lose track of yesterday’s victims. I think that’s why Deep Water is dedicated to the 11 men who died last April 20 on the Deepwater Horizon.

Deep Water is an exemplary Commission report – timely, clear, and comprehensive. It’s worthy of any citizen’s attention. You can view it here or get your own copy here.

11 Responses to Plunging into Deep Water

  1. greg says:

    thanks for the article i am interested in the report due to my work protecting sea life around scotland. thanks for the article. sea pollution can takes its toll on not just sea life but also the people who work on the seas.

    Like

  2. Juan Vender en internet says:

    I am in the same situation as Antonio, I live in Argentina. I was looking for this report on Google and I found this site. Thanks for the article. I would like to know more about this accident.

    Regards,

    Juan

    Like

  3. António Cabral Sacadura says:

    I’m very interested in this publication. The problem is not have it on saling here, in Portugal.
    Would you be so kind to sen me information on how to get one? The contact of the editor will be suficient, once I’ve the possibilty to import direct from it.
    My best regards
    António Sacadura

    Like

  4. Paul says:

    Am glad someone is talking about the gulf oil spill!

    Like

  5. zannias vasilis says:

    IT IS GOOD THAT COMMISSION HAD DECISIONED TO ADD SIDEBARS , THAT ALLOWED THE VICTIMS OF THE OIL SPILL , TO SPEAK FRANKLY ON THEIR LIVES AND LIVELIHOODS!THIS REPORT IS WORTH OF ANY CITIZENS ‘ ATTENTION!AS FAR AS I KNOW THE “DEEPWATER HORIZON” IS A DARK HISTORY!AND IN THIS STORY INCLUDED , “UNDERGROUND SITUATIONS”!

    Like

  6. S.P. says:

    Amazing that the BP incident kind of just evaporated out of the news. How are the people on Gulf doing or are they still struggling in their recoveries? I though BP did an excellent job in their PR and marketing efforts to calm down the negative sentiments against them. I was surprised that the areas Chamber of Commerces didn’t collectively produce TV ads keeping the people informed of the recovery of Gulf businesses. So, all’s well?

    Like

  7. Joseph says:

    Am glad someone is talking about the gulf oil spill. In my church, maybe since its a Roman Catholic parish, knowone even mentioned it after it happened. Being a enviormentalist and an animal right actvist, it shocked me to the core, when I found out what happened. Maybe if Sarah Palin gets to be president, america won’t have to pay the arabs for oil anymore.

    Like

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