Blame For Everybody on Rig


Guess what? Federal investigators in Houston are having some difficulty in figuring out just who was in charge of the Deepwater Horizon rig before it blew up, and BP executives are holding the party line: Safety is everyone’s responsibility. What they really mean, at this point, is “everybody’s liability.”

But a new name has emerged for anyone keeping a “who’s who” of the BP spll: John Guide, identified as a “Houston-based supervisor” identified by some BP employees as an official with “authority” over the design of the well. I’d file him alongside drilling engineers Mark Hafle and Brian Morel – they were reportedly identified as the guys responsible for designing the actual well and later recommending that fewer safety devices than an independent contractor had suggested.

Hafle and Morel of course refused to testify this week, invoking their 5th Amendment right not to incriminate themselves. Imagine that.

The blame game is getting complex. Not only does each company blame others, but the planners are blaming the guys executing the plan…the workers blame the bosses, the bosses (very carefully) say workers may have screwed up, the government officials who looked the other way are blaming the industry, which will soon turn around and say “well, you approved it.”

It’s all designed to duck responsibility, of course, and it’s going to get much, much worse before the courts sort it out. Here’s a good L.A. Times report on the Houston hearings, which resume in October:,0,1824748.story

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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