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Reilly blames ‘culture of complacency’ for oil spill

In closing remarks after a marathon meeting of the national oil spill commission, co-chairman William Reilly blamed a “culture of complacency” for the massive Gulf oil spill.

He placed blame both on the oil industry for not adequately self-regulating and on Congress for underfunding the Minerals Management Service, the now-defunct agency in charge of offshore drilling oversight.

Reflecting on a long day of presentations on the April 20 Macondo well explosion, Reilly said, “I’m conscious of the fact that what we heard about were apparently a lot of decisions that were difficult to explain or look like they were just plain wrong.” But he did not elaborate, even amid criticism of one of the commission staff’s key findings: that the companies involved in the well explosion did not deliberately favor cutting costs over safety.

Co-chairman Bob Graham, in his closing remarks, suggested that mistakes were made due to the pressure to complete work on the Macondo well by April 20. “There seemed to be a compulsion to get this rig completed in that April 19, April 20 time period and as a result of that a number of things that might have made the outcome quite different were differed or abandoned,” he said.

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