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Dollars Did Not Trump Safety in Gulf Spill: Panel

The presidential commission investigating the massive Gulf oil spill has found no instance where a decision deliberately sacrificed safety to cut costs.

Fred H. Bartlit, Jr., the panel's chief counsel, in a presentation Monday said the probe did not uncover any case where an individual made a conscious choice to "favor dollars over safety."

That statement conflicts with investigations by Democrats in Congress who have accused BP of cutting corners when it made several critical well design decisions. Those decisions have also been questioned by other major oil companies.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson is presiding over the first official meeting of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force in the aftermath of BP's Gulf of Mexico oil well blowout.

Weathered oil collects on surface of water after explosion and collapse of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana.
AP
Weathered oil collects on surface of water after explosion and collapse of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana.

The meeting is taking in Pensacola, Florida.

President Barack Obama created the task force in October in hopes of integrating federal, state and local officials in efforts to restore Gulf Coast ecosystems after BP's April 20 well blowout off Louisiana that killed 11 rig workers and spewed more than 170 million gallons of oil into the sea.

Representatives from numerous federal agencies will attend the meeting, including from the Agriculture Department, the Justice Department and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.