The oil spill ethics discussion revisited

A few weeks ago, I attended a discussion about ethics and oil spills at the Offshore Technology Conference. I was critical of the presentation by W.C. “Rusty” Riese, a geoscientist and adjunct professor at Rice University, for directing much of the criticism over the Gulf oil spill outwardly at the media, lawmakers and regulators.

After my post, Riese contacted me and an email discussion ensued, which led to face-to-face meeting Wednesday at the Chronicle. Riese wanted me to see his entire presentation, which he had to cut short at OTC to comply with the time restrictions of his panel. While there’s still some things we disagree on, Riese’s extended presentation, which he went through with me in its entirety, is much more comprehensive than what he presented at OTC. He points out, for example, the the worst spills in history that weren’t the result of war have common themes of poor maintenance, a lack of proper training or weak management systems.

With his permission, I’ve posted the entire presentation here. With Riese’s explanation, it probably loses a little something, but the overall themes still come through.