Lord help us if there’s another deepwater spill, because the big oil companies all have a pretty much identical response plan to BP, congressional Democrats complained today, grilling executives from Chevron, Exxon, Shell, BP, and Conoco Phillips. All the companies hired the same third party to draft their plans, the Wall Street Journal reports, and that company itself told Congress they are “cookie-cutter” documents. Ed Markey found that two of the plans “are such dead ringers for BP’s that they list a phone number for the same long-dead expert.”
Three plans also referenced protecting walruses, which, Markey noted, “have not called the Gulf of Mexico home for three million years.” But Republicans at the hearing complained that Democrats were overreacting and using the disaster to push their agenda. “Anger and frustration do not solve problems,” one Texas congressman admonished them. The oil giants, meanwhile, argued that the Gulf spill was a fluke; Exxon’s CEO called it “a dramatic departure from the industry norm” that “did not occur at the 14,000 other deepwater wells” worldwide.