Kate Mackenzie Other majors accused of ‘walrus’ oil spill plans

hans s

Flickr: hans s

Remember how BP’s Gulf of Mexico spill response plan talked about the protection of walruses, sea otters and other animals not found in the region? And how the plan listed a deceased expert?

Ed Markey, chair of the House Energy and Commerce’s subcommittee on Energy and the Environment, says BP is not the only one with a duff plan; in fact the four other oil and gas majors appearing at the subcomittee’s hearings today all have similar flaws, he says. From his opening remarks:

In preparation for this hearing, the committee reviewed the oil spill safety response plans for all of the companies here today.

What we found was that these five companies have response plans that are virtually identical. The plans cite identical response capabilities and tout identical ineffective equipment. In some cases, they use the exact same words.

We found that all of these companies, not just BP, made the exact same assurances.

The covers of the five response plans are different colors, but the content is ninety percent identical.

Like BP, three other companies include references to protecting walruses, which have not called the Gulf of Mexico home for 3 million years.

Two other plans are such dead ringers for BP’s that they list a phone number for the same long-dead expert.

Just how badly this reflects on the industry alone is up for debate, of course – the Minerals Management Service presumably approved all those plans.  At pixel time the opening statements were rather bogged down in politics; with Republicans arguing the Gulf oil spill shouldn’t be used to opportunistically push through new regulation or other measures, and turning the focus onto the current administration.