NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An internal BP probe of the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico didn't explore whether upper-level management had a role in causing the disaster because investigators didn't have access to its partners' employees and records, a BP executive testified Thursday at a trial designed to assign blame to the companies.
Mark Bly, who led the investigation and has served as BP's global head of safety, said his team didn't have enough information to conduct a "systemic evaluation" of what caused the blowout of BP's Macondo well without cooperation from rig owner Transocean Ltd. or other companies that worked on the project.
A report by Bly's team in September 2010 focused on mistakes that rig workers made before the blowout triggered an explosion that killed 11 workers and led to the nation's worst offshore oil spill.
A BP policy says accident investigations should include attempts to identify any "systemic failures within the management system." Bly, however, said he and then-BP chief executive Tony Hayward departed from policy and decided at the outset not to attempt a broader probe.
"We could have attempted to do it, but we felt that we had good results from what we had gotten and didn't make the choice to go beyond," Bly said in response to questions by a lawyer for Gulf Coast residents and businesses that have sued BP.
In what has become known as the "Bly Report," BP took some responsibility for the web of errors and failures that led to the disaster but also assigned plenty of blame to its partners. In earlier testimony, Bly said the investigation wasn't intended to look at the disaster through the "lens of responsibility."
While questioning Bly on Wednesday, plaintiffs' attorney Paul Sterbcow read aloud from the report and asked him about its eight "key findings." One of those said BP rig supervisors and Transocean crew members botched a crucial safety test that should have showed them a blowout was brewing.
"It was an important test and it was misinterpreted," Bly said.
Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine, the BP well site leaders accused of misinterpreting those test results, have been indicted on manslaughter charges and await a separate trial.
Attorneys for the U.S. government and lawyers for Gulf Coast residents and businesses have accused BP of putting profits ahead of safety on a project that was over budget and behind schedule. BP has said drilling in the Gulf is a team effort and its partners should share in the responsibility for the disaster. The trial is designed to assess the fault of each company involved, and billions of dollars are at stake.
MAY 21 Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos writes about the Mother's Day shooting, and how the stages of shock and blame and healing mirror those traveled by the same city following Hurricane Katrina. The city will recover, just as it did following the storm, by reaching out to help the people injured most seriously by the event, DuBos writes. It's how we heal, he says.
MAY 21 Here's a post on the Advocate (but buried on a subpage, not on the front) that reports something Louisiana Voice reported some time ago: a top DOE official lives in Los Angeles and "commutes" to Baton Rouge. The positioning of the story caused a stir on Facebook Monday, with several posters asking if the Advocate was covering someone's hiney. Sentell's stories on DOE are notoriously soft, and this one is no different: don't expect any hard questions in here.
MAY 21 Here's another post from blogger Tom Aswell about the "course choice" program. He's already reported on kids being signed up without their consent or knowledge, and has more here: For example, he tells of a six-year-old who was signed up for high school Latin. He also digs a little deeper into the sister companies of the main one operating in Louisiana; all of them seem to have complaints against them. Stinky.
MAY 21 Given the 80 percent cut in higher ed funding since he's been in office, it's clear Gov. Jindal would rather give tax cuts to out of state companies than have a functioning system, blogger Dayne Sherman argues in this post. The cuts have been such a disaster, Sherman says, that it will take 30 years to fix what's been broken. He says he believes the aim is to shut down most of the schools before Jindal leaves in 2016.
MAY 21 Blogger CB Forgotston says there are too many elections in Louisiana, and they're costing us too much money. The proof is in the pudding: turnout for most of these nonsensical pollings gets worse and worse, CB opines, even as millions of dollars that could be spent on health care or higher ed go down the tubes. The legislature must take action to stem the tide of pointless elections, he says.
MAY 21 Here's an interesting investigative piece by WVUE on the retirement benefits of some Jefferson Parish public employees. According to the story, the taxpayers are paying 100 percent of the retirement contributions of employees who started work prior to a certain date in April 1986 -- and have done for more than 30 years. It costs the parish millions annually, and might not be legal, the story reports.
MAY 21 This post on Bayou Buzz provides insight from Louisiana's intrepid pollster, Bernie Pinsonat, on the winners and losers from this year's legislative session. But to hear Bernie tell it, there's almost nuttin but losers: Jindal, the Republican party, the Fiscal Hawks all get big goose eggs in his win column.
MAY 20 This post on The Lens takes a look at a huge (either $500K or $250K) bill that one NOLA charter now has for school lunches. The RSD says the charter group didn't fill out the proper paperwork for federal reimbursement, but the story details how the RSD didn't ensure the people running the charter had the proper training, despite requests from hapless charter employees trying to fill out forms. Either way, somebody's asleep at the wheel.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.