BP Spill Plan Bore No Resemblance to Reality

Critics blast company's preparedness
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2010 4:00 AM CDT
An oil soaked bird struggles against the side of the HOS an Iron Horse supply vessel at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, May 9, 2010.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – As BP struggles to fix its oil containment dome, many in Washington and the oil industry say the company's botched handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill shows it failed to prepare for a major disaster—and comparing its spill plan to the reality of the current situation seems gives credence to the argument. Just last summer BP claimed that it had enough booms, dispersant, and skimmers to contain a blowout 50 times the size of the current spill—which the company is now struggling mightily to handle.

BP also told regulators oil would only come ashore in a small part of Louisiana, even in the case of a much larger spill; it's now washing up onto Alabama's beaches. And industry insiders wonder why the company took so long to design and create a containment dome, rather than already having one on hand. "The only thing that's clear is that there was a catastrophic failure of risk management," an oil management expert told the Wall Street Journal.

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