problem have made public several plans to bring the well under control. Many of us believe that successful placement of a subsea containment vessel over one or more of theleaks holds real promise for significantly reducing the flow, although it will requireenormous skill to execute
Many good men and women work in the offshore industryand for this company, and no one intended the loss of human life and damage to themarine environment. However, I, and others knowledgeable about the industry havefound insufficient information available about what the responsible companiesnow know concerning the causes of the blowout.Two personal experiences shape my strong belief that we must understand the causes of the blowout to determine how to avoid this situation in the future. First, almost 25 yearsago, a bankruptcy judge and trustee both put me on a team that dealt with one of thelargest onshore blowouts, spewing highly toxic gas. The blowout occurred near Jackson,Mississippi, and the operator was bankrupt, so a new team of experts worked together to bring the well under control after it was a towering inferno for months; I led the groupwhich identified the cause as preventable human error. Second, in the mid-1990s, I ledU.S. Government efforts to begin the closure of the surviving nuclear reactors atChernobyl. Again, we had to identify the causes of the initial failure and release, and itturned out to be a combination of design flaws of the Russian RBMK reactors andegregious human errors. In the first case, the facts showed that sour gas drilling could besuccessfully undertaken with better procedures. In the second, we concluded that thedesign of all of the oldest Soviet reactors posed an enormous risk, and that those reactorsmust be closed.