Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS -- After more than a year of investigating the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill, a federal panel released its final report on the incident Wednesday.
In the 500-page report, investigators spread blame to various companies, but seemed to focus most, on one party -- BP.
"The buck stops with BP," said Aaron Viles, with the Gulf Restoration Network.
Viles said he was mostly satisfied with the findings.
"It showed that BP was very much responsible for this disaster and what I thought was really important, was they made clear recommendations to make sure that we don't see an event of this magnitude ever again," he said.
On a broad scale, the recommendations call for more federal oversight for deepwater drilling.
They also point to a need for specific safety measures, like requiring at least two barriers to be placed inside a well.
The report criticizes BP's decision to use only one cement barrier in the well beneath the Deepwater Horizon.
It faults the company for its decisions leading up to the disaster, saying the choices added risk and may have led to the ultimate failure of the cement job.
"I don't think this report has any surprises at all, either about BP and its primary responsibility, or anything else,” said Sen. David Vitter, R-La. “So, I think it confirms the lessons we have learned over the last several months."
In giving his reaction to the report, Vitter said it's time to move forward with more drilling.
"We have learned those lessons. We can do it very, very safely. Now, let's put Louisianans back to work," he said.
But environmentalists like Aaron Viles are skeptical that enough safeguards are currently in place.
"We still are moving forward with deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico without having truly learned the lessons of this disaster and that makes me very nervous, because clearly, the eco-system can't handle another disaster of this magnitude," Viles said.
Wednesday, BP released this statement in response:
“BP agrees with the report's core conclusion consistent with every other official investigation that the Deepwater Horizon accident was the result of multiple causes, involving multiple parties, including Transocean and Halliburton.
"From the outset, BP acknowledged its role in the accident and has taken concrete steps to further enhance safety and risk management throughout its global operations, including the implementation of new voluntary standards and practices in the Gulf of Mexico that exceed current regulatory requirements and strengthen the oversight of contractors.
We continue to encourage other parties to acknowledge their roles in the accident and make changes to help prevent similar accidents in the future.”