Another Investigation Exonerates the 'Climategate' Scientists

Bagua7/07/2010 8:15:03 pm PDT

re: #548 Obdicut

But that’s just it, Reine: Even if the other companies have historically been well-run, BP and this accident has shown that we can’t depend upon those best interests to keep this sort of accident from happening. Another company could be bought by the same sort of people running BP, or a particular rig could be run by people with that mentality. After all, Massey mine shouldn’t have happened, too— it’s not in their best interests. Nor should have Centralia. Nor should have many other industrial disasters.

How many disasters of this scale could we handle in a century? Right now, we can handle zero.

And even if the other companies really do their best, all the time, there is still the chance of a perfect storm of human and equipment error that would produce another catastrophe. The industry’s testimony about the physical response to this was that, basically, BP really was doing the best that could be done in response— that means we wouldn’t even be prepared for a much lesser catastrophe.

The main thing I am arguing here is that placing blame on the MMS makes it seem as though even though the regulators were on the case and zealous, the regulation failed. It’s not true; the regulators were overburdened with an obvious history of waving through BPs plans with exceptions. To me, that indicates that the regulations need tightening, and the agency needs reformation— and that all agencies dealing with stuff of such catastrophic import likewise need to be examined to see if they can actually do their job, because their jobs are important. Incredibly important.

Right, exactly. Recognizing that there was also regulatory failure is an important step to achieving effective oversight. But we also can’t place too much faith in them as they failed. Thus in this case it wasn’t an absence of regulation, rather it was a lapse of regulation. (I can point to other areas were there is a lack of regulation, this just wasn’t one of them.)

We have to always assume that a future regulator, under any party, is also fallible just as individual industry groups will be fallible. Thus we simply rule out the risky procedures and improve the regulatory process by red flagging the regulators as well. I quite like the proposal of adding a layer of inspection and compliance that is verified by independent contractor/experts who would be required to sign off on these matters. Thus we add another layer of redundancy should both industry and the regulator fumble in the future.