Oil Spill: Hearings Find a List of Failures

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Gerald Herbert / AP

The gulf spill has released 4 million gallons of oil into the water since April 20.

Emerging evidence in Capitol Hill hearings on the Gulf of Mexico oil rig disaster is increasingly showing that a lack of regulation is largely behind the blowout, which has spilled 4 million gallons of oil into the water since April 20. Several failures of both rules and equipment led to an eventual failure in the machinery intended to prevent exactly what happened, testimony says.

Committees at congressional and White House panel hearings in Washington and Louisiana have found a list of items that were cited as causes, including leaky cement work, a loose hydraulic fitting, and a dead battery in the mechanism, the Associated Press reported.

At a House hearing, BP America testified that set of valves called a blowout preventer was supposed to stave off the accident. But in the accident, the preventer’s emergency device failed, causing the oil surge. Testimony indicated no government regulation exists for designing or installing the instrument, nor does the government routinely inspect them.

Currently 210,000 a day continue to spew into the gulf. The spill has cost BP $450 million, with the pricetag increasing by $10 million each day. The company is preparing to place a new, smaller dome on the seabed in an attempt to stop the hemorrhaging of oil after a larger dome failed last weekend.