group of experts

What is ‘regulatory capture? Here’s a superb example:

A ‘remote dead man’s switch’ isn’t required under U.S. law but is well-known in the industry and mandated in other parts of the world where BP operates.

See? It’s that heavy iron blowout preventer that failed.

When an explosion and fire crippled the deepwater drilling rig on April 20, workers threw a switch to activate the blowout preventer, which is designed to seal the well quickly in the event of a burst of pressure.

They have continued to focus their attention on a 40-foot stack of heavy equipment 5,000 feet below the surface of the gulf, a blowout preventer, the steel-framed stack of valves, rams, housings, tanks and hydraulic tubing, painted industrial yellow and sitting atop the well in the murky water, is at the root of the disaster. It did not work, and a failsafe switch on the device also failed to function.

Still, Mr. McCormack said, “something is working there because you wouldn’t have such a relatively small flow of oil.” If the blowout preventer were completely inoperable, he said, the flow would be orders of magnitude greater.