Experts Accuse BP of Negligence in Pre-Spill Drilling Operation

An independent panel convened by the National Academy of Engineering has just released its report on what caused the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon well, which resulted in the wrongful deaths of 11 workers, the largest oil spill in history, and billions of dollars in damage.

The report, which was commissioned in May by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, accuses BP and its contractors of missing and even ignoring warning signs before the blowout, showing an "insufficient consideration of risk," and relying on key personnel who may not have had sufficient expertise.

Donald Winter, chairman of the 15-member study committee and a professor of engineering practice at the University of Michigan, said that the failures that led to the fatal accident and the Gulf Oil Spill would be unacceptable in companies that work in areas with similar levels of risk, such as aviation and nuclear power.

"A great number of decisions, all of which appear to us to be questionable ... also appeared to be justified by those individuals and those companies involved," said Winter in an interview with the Associated Press. "In an operation like this you have to recognize the uncertainties of where you are going."

But they apparently did not -- and neither the companies nor federal regulators recognized or corrected the flawed decisions that were made.

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