News Release

Commission on BP


A retired professor at the University of Alaska, Steiner was deeply involved in the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and also followed closely the aftermath of BP’s Deepwater Horizon gusher. He said today: “There is nothing in the recent commission release regarding causes of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy that we didn’t already know, but it is good to have their confirmation. The report lends evidence to the contention that BP and its contractors were grossly negligent, as they knowingly put at risk the safety of the crew and the environment by cutting safety corners. That is the standard for gross negligence, and if proven will expose them to the higher, $20 billion, civil liability fine.

“It is good that the commission has retreated from its ludicrous position last November which asserted that BP had not cut corners on safety to save money. Clearly BP and its contractors did just that, and the commission seems to have come full circle on that issue to the obvious conclusion that BP and its contractors were indeed terribly negligent.”

Steiner, who is now a conservation and sustainability consultant for the group Oasis Earth, added: “We will hope that the final report next week will recommend a total suspension of deepwater drilling until best available safety measures are put in place, but I fear they will not do such.” In November, Steiner wrote the piece “Gulf spill commission’s credibility shaky” for the Anchorage Daily News.

Sakashita is senior attorney and director of the Oceans Program at the Center for Biological Diversity. She said today: “The Commission’s report confirms that the oil industry cannot be trusted, and the federal government is also to blame for being asleep at the wheel. There are systemic problems at the Department of the Interior that have allowed drilling in the Gulf to evade safety and environmental protections. However, Secretary of the Interior Salazar seems to have learned nothing from the catastrophic oil spill, and again opened up the Gulf to deepwater drilling without environmental review.”

Currently in Texas, independent journalist Jamail is continuing to write investigative pieces on the Gulf oil disaster for Al Jazeera and other outlets. He said today: “While the commission report has been released, untold numbers of people living along the Gulf Coast continue to get sick as a direct result of exposure to BP’s toxic chemicals in their dispersants and crude oil. Dr. Rodney Soto, a medical doctor in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, has been testing and treating patients with high levels of oil-related chemicals in their bloodstream. These are commonly referred to as Volatile Organic Compounds. ‘I’m regularly finding between five and seven VOCs in my patients,’ Dr. Soto told Al Jazeera. ‘These patients include people not directly involved in the oil clean-up, as well as residents that do not live right on the coast. These are clearly related to the oil disaster.'” See: “Illnesses linked to BP oil disaster

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-00208; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167