By Alex DeMetrick

WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Dissecting a disaster.  Even before it was finally stopped, the massive oil spill in the Gulf prompted President Barack Obama to appoint a commission to investigate.

Alex DeMetrick reports the findings are now officially out.

When the Deepwater Horizon exploded last April, it claimed 11 lives. A mile down, more than 170 million gallons of oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico before the well head was sealed.

Damage to marine life is still being calculated, as is the billions in losses suffered by Gulf shore states.

“Really, we think this accident was totally preventable, and the investigation showed a number of mistakes were made,” said Dr. Donald Boesch, commission member.

The president’s oil spill commission detailed those mistakes at a packed news conference in Washington Tuesday.  The University of Maryland’s Donald Boesch is a commission member.

Blame was placed on all three companies involved with the deep water drilling. 

Among the findings, the blowout was caused by human error, engineering mistakes and management failure.  Both industry and government were unprepared to contain the blowout and unprepared to handle the massive cleanup.

“I think better science would have helped us understand the risks realistically, of whether a spill like this could happen, what the effects would be, we would be better prepared for it,” said Boesch.

The commission’s report does not call for a ban on deepwater drilling.  Instead, it wants to see better testing, technology and science before a well is drilled.

“The commission is asking both industry and government to invest in research,” said Fran Ulmer, commission member.

Besides reporting their findings to the president, the commission will also brief members of Congress in upcoming hearings.


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