Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Spill Response "Plans" From Oil Majors Are Sloppy, Downright Absurd

Executives from Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Shell joined BP on the Hill yesterday for a House Energy Committee Hearing. Facing questions about their disaster-response plans, the executives whose companies were not involved in the BP disaster insisted that such a spill would not have happened on their watch (because surely, the other big oil companies of the world wouldn't be so careless as to make the same mistakes).

While these companies hoped to distance themselves from rival BP and its shoddy contingency plan, it became clear that theirs were equally useless. In fact, they were shown to be near carbon copies, all written by the same firm.

One portion of these regional response plans – filed for drilling efforts in the Gulf of Mexico – listed “sea lions, seals, sea otters (and) walruses” as wildlife that could be affected in the event of a Gulf spill. How kind of big oil to look out for the cute and cuddly creatures of the world. Yet there's one, minor problem: those animals' don't even inhabit the Gulf of Mexico. Their ranges are confined to much, much colder climates; places like, you know, the Arctic.

Other particularly ridiculous facets of these plans:
  • Exxon Mobil revealed its emergency response plan includes 40 pages on dealing with the media and only nine on dealing with an oil spill.
  • Some of the plans direct media spokespeople never to make “promises that property, ecology or anything else will be restored to normal."
  • Two of the companies also incorporated contact information for a Florida marine researcher who died in 2005.
Well done, gents.

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