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Vt. writer and ex-oil CEO examines the Gulf oil spill - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. writer and ex-oil CEO examines the Gulf oil spill

November 26, 2010

Bob Cavnar has worked in the oil industry for over 30 years. But now, the CEO turned author is blowing the whistle on the very business he made a career in. Cavnar's new book, "Disaster on the Horizon," explores the Gulf oil catastrophe off the Louisiana coast. Reporter Adam Sullivan recently sat down with Cavnar and has this report in the author's own words.

Cavnar: Well, first we can't forget that there were 11 men killed that night. That is the thing that I always try to talk about is that there are 11 families suffering this holiday season.

Cavnar: I have pretty harsh words for the industry, for the government, and for BP especially. They really made some dangerous decisions that caused the accident I believe.

Cavnar: They were rushing to try to get the well finished. But overall the management of the well and the lack of concern for things that could go wrong was a real contributing factor.

Cavnar: The regulator is living in the same small town as the guy drilling the well. And so their kids play soccer together, they see each other at church. It's a very, very close relationship and over years it turns into more of a business partnership.

Cavnar: And because we allow the companies that operate out there to self-certify, they say that they are operating safely and say that they are following the regulations; there is no real oversight.

Cavnar: All the politicians are focused on one thing, getting re-elected. That precludes them from making very tough decisions, outside of a huge crisis that forces decisions; it is very difficult for a politician today, even President Obama, to take these positions that need to be taken.

Cavnar: And because of the mass-media messaging machine that we have today, companies like BP and the government can basically control what the public sees. So that sense of urgency was really killed in this particular case, when it really should have called people to action.

Cavnar: We can't stop drilling off-shore, primarily because if we do, that's just more oil that we have to import from countries that hate us. So we have to maintain that. But what we need to learn is how to do it more safely with more oversight so this doesn't happen again.

Cavnar lives in Woodstock part-time. He's giving a talk Saturday at the Woodstock Historical Society. The lecture begins at 1:30 and is open to the public.

Adam Sullivan - WCAX News

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