State News

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Report faults oil rigs' lack of focus on major hazards

HOUSTON -- BP and the drilling contractor it hired to operate the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon focused too closely on workers' personal safety at the expense of preventing major hazards, such as those that ultimately caused the rig to blow up in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, killing 11 people, federal investigators said on Tuesday.

The preliminary findings were presented by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, a panel that often probes industry accidents but does not have regulatory authority.

The board said it had raised similar concerns after a deadly explosion in 2005 at BP's Texas City refinery, but discovered many of its recommendations had not been implemented on the offshore rig.

Despite that failure, BP and Transocean received several commendations, including from a federal regulatory agency, for their safety records -- awards that focused on injury and accident rates, but did not deal with well blowouts, fires, explosions or other major hazards.


Jury seated in murder trial of ex-police officer

JOLIET -- A full jury was selected on Tuesday for the murder trial of former suburban Chicago police officer Drew Peterson, who was charged with killing his third wife after his fourth wife disappeared in 2007.

It took two days to pick the 12 jurors and four alternates. The jury will get the next few days off and begin hearing testimony after opening statements next week. Seven men and five women are on the jury. Nine jurors are white, two are black and one is Hispanic.

Peterson, 58, is charged with killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004. Her death was ruled accidental until police began investigating the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. …