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Markey Blasts Oil Companies for ‘Carbon Copy’ Safety Plans

At a hearing this morning with executives from five leading oil companies, House Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) lambasted the executives for their companies’ lack of preparation for an oil spill like the one that has been spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico for 57 days.

After taking BP to task for allowing the spill to occur, Markey said, “Now the other companies here today will contend that this was an isolated incident. They will say a similar disaster could never happen to them.”

And so they did. “This incident represents a dramatic departure from the industry norm in deepwater drilling,” said ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. And Chevron chairman John Watson said his company’s “drilling and control practices for deepwater wells are safe and environmentally sound.”

But Markey would have none of it. “What we found was that these five companies have response plans that are virtually identical,” he said.

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

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