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Wednesday: BP Releases Report on Gulf Spill; Obama to Propose Economic Plans

In a 193-page report posted on its website Wednesday, British oil company BP partly blamed itself for the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and the disastrous Gulf of Mexico spill, as well as companies Transocean and Halliburton and a complex “sequence of failures.”

The report, which can be found here, is part of an internal investigation released before a key piece of evidence has been fully analyzed — the blowout preventer that failed to stop the oil from leaking from the well.

“BP spread the blame around, and even was critical of its own workers’ conduct, but it defended some parts of the well’s design and it was careful in its assessments….While BP didn’t completely absolve its engineers, the company shot down some of the things they’ve been criticized for by members of Congress and others, reports the Associated Press.

CNN pulls out some “highlights” from the report here.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune’s David Hammer reports on the sequence of failures:

“[The investigation] boiled the disaster down to this: The cement that was supposed to line the bottom of the well and keep out hydrocarbons failed; a test of pressure in the well was misinterpreted by BP engineers and Transocean rig workers; the Transocean rig crew took 40 minutes to recognize that gas was kicking up toward the rig; they routed the gas through a goose-neck tube that fed onto the rig, rather than diverting it overboard; ventilation systems allowed gas to get in the engine rooms; and the supposedly fail-safe blowout preventer failed.”

That sequence of failures led to the worst oil spill in the history of the United States.

Obama to Push Economic Initiatives

President Obama will pitch a trio of economic initiatives Wednesday in Cleveland, as well as voice his opposition to Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthy that are set to expire next year. President Obama will ask Congress to consider three proposals, reports the AP:

A $50 billion infrastructure investment to rebuild and repair the nation’s roads, railways >and runways.

A permanent extension of research and development tax credits for businesses.

Tax breaks to let businesses quickly write off 100 percent of their spending on new >plants and equipment through 2011.

The Washington Post has an interactive graphic that explains “how the fight over tax breaks affects your bottom line.”

As part of a series on tax policy, NPR asks, “How Much Tax Does a Taxpayer Pay?”

For more on President Obama’s speech in Cleveland, including the GOP response, check out The Morning Line.

Afghanistan to Keep Some Polls Closed

Afghan election officials said Wednesday that scores of polling stations will be closed during the Sept. 18 parliamentary vote because of the deteriorating security situation in the country.