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Louisiana’s Treasurer Says ‘Chuckleheads’ Caused Gulf Oil Spill

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U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has said the ban on deep- water drilling can be lifted before the Nov. 30 expiration if the industry shows it has improved safety and developed means to contain another spill. Photographer: Jay Westcott/Bloomberg

Aug. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy said “chuckleheads” on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig caused the explosion and oil spill, and said the isolated incident shouldn’t delay resuming Gulf of Mexico exploration.

Kennedy, a Republican, urged an end to the ban on deep-water drilling imposed by the Obama administration after BP Plc’s Macondo well blew out, causing the largest U.S. oil spill. The moratorium has hurt the state’s economy and cut tax receipts, he said today in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “InBusiness” program.

“The main reason for this catastrophe was not that we didn’t have enough rules, it was that we didn’t follow the rules that we had,” Kennedy said. “Some of the people making decisions on the Macondo well were acting like chuckleheads, and that was the problem. It was human error, it wasn’t a systemic failure.”

Kennedy said any company responsible for causing the spill should compensate Louisiana for the damage. He said the state would pursue lawsuits if parties failed to pay.

The administration halted drilling in waters deeper than 500 feet after the April 20 explosion. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Michael Bromwich, head of the bureau that oversees offshore drilling, have said the ban can be lifted before the Nov. 30 expiration if the industry shows it has improved safety and developed means to contain another spill.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jim Snyder in Washington at jsnyder24@bloomberg.net; Margaret Brennan in New York at mbrennan25@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Liebert at lliebert@bloomberg.net;

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