Congress Pressures Oil Giants On Spill Plans


photo via flickr

When the CEOs of some of the world's largest oil companies testified in front of the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment earlier this month, they had no good answers for how their companies would approach cleaning up a spill like the Deepwater Horizon. That's not good enough, of course, and now Congress is pressuring the oil companies to step up and be more forthright. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) sent a letter today to ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Shell, and Chevron demanding answers.Famously, the oil companies presented almost identical recovery plans that included references to protecting "walruses," which hints that the companies used cut and paste when writing their plans and that they were originally schemes for Alaska.

The letter demands answers to the questions below by Friday, July 2, 2010.

1. Is your company's oil spill response plan for the Gulf of Mexico adequate to protect the Gulf region from the consequences of a subsea blowout similar to the blowout at the Macondo well? If so, please explain how this conclusion is reached.

2. Each of the five oil companies that testified on June 15, 2010, relied upon the Marine Spill Response Corporation (MSRC) and its equipment to respond to potential oil spills. The MSRC is now using its equipment to respond to the BP oil spill. Are there other resources and equipment available to your company in the event of an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that are not currently being used to respond to the BP spill?

3. Many resources that had been held in reserve for spills elsewhere in the country, such as the west coast and Alaska, have been transported for use in the Gulf of Mexico. Are there other resources and equipment available to your company in the event of an oil spill outside of the Gulf of Mexico that are not currently being used to respond to the BP spill?

4. Do you plan to revise your oil spill response plan? If so, when will this revision be completed?

Stay tuned to see how the companies respond Friday.

More on the spill:
TEDxOilSpill: An Idea More Powerful Than a Faster Horse
Is It Raining Oil in the Gulf? (Video)

Tags: Oil Spill

Best of TreeHugger