Posted by Anne Landman on June 11, 2010

BP's spill plan lists walruses among wildlife to be protected in the Gulf, but no walruses live in the Gulf.Last year the federal government approved a 582-page, regional spill plan for the Gulf of Mexico. Sounds comprehensive, right? It turns out the plan was filled with glaring errors, blatant omissions and wildly false assumptions -- and won approval from the government anyway. BP's response plan included references to wildlife like walruses, sea lions and seals, none of which live in the Gulf, indicating parts of the plan may have been lifted from a site plan for Alaska. It contains spill scenarios in which beaches remain prisitine, fish, marine mammals and birds are spared and water quality is just a passing concern -- and those are projections for a spill ten times worse than calculations for the the current disaster. The plan lists Professor Peter Lutz as a national wildlife expert to contact in the event of a spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but he died in 2005. It contains the names and telephone number of marine life specialists at Texas A&M University, but the names and numbers are wrong. It lists the numbers for offices of the marine mammal stranding network in Louisiana and Florida, but they are no longer in service. The plan underestimates the dangers posed by an uncontrolled underwater blowout, and overstates BP's ability to deal with one. Two senators -- Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat and Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat -- are seeking a criminal investigation into the company's claims of preparedness to deal with such a catastrophe.

Comments

BP just couldn't be bothered to put forward the time, and more importantly money, to create a competent plan of action. It's irresponsibility like this that makes me sick . . . entire ecosystems are about to be destroyed yet they're only upset about all the money gushing out into the ocean that they won't be able to collect for themselves.

I strongly believe that this accident was very preventable. BP has the resources to ensure that these oil rigs are properly equipped and maintained, but when allowed to "police" themselves, they have shown that they can not be trusted to do so. Let's see how well they put off paying damages to the towns and home owners that are directly affected by the oil now washing up on the beaches. I would imagine that not only will the ecosystems be destroyed, but the fishing industry around the Gulf will take a heavy loss for years to come, as well as the tourism industry that depends on the pristine beaches.

Quantity certainly doesn't mean quality when it comes to these reports. Lotsa fluff and glaring errors make this sort of thing a punchline, and more than a bit disturbing.

I mean...is anyone really surprised by this? I realize these are two catastrophes of completely different ilk, but doesn't this remind you of the post-9/11 turmoil where all this information came out that the government heard rumblings of an attack and failed to act on it? It just keeps getting more and more ridiculous. Aren't we supposed to learn from our mistakes?

BP has gotten away with it time and time again. Blair, no one has been punished for lying about Iraq.

...is that the act of recycling a past recovery plan just shows how far behind the ball they really are.

First of all, why didn't they already have an emergency response plan in place to address an occurrence that had a high probability of happening? Every industry has a code of best practices and they all involve having a plan - not plagiarizing a completely unrelated plan.

I don't understand why we don't penalize this sort of crime to the maximum level possible. Congress, who approved of the policy, should also be held responsible.

This is another fine example of the phenomenon of greed and lack of responsibility produced by large organisations.
Environmental impact assessment is required by law and as a large organisation who have been much revived in recent times should have taken care with what they are responsible for.

It is difficult to believe that a contingency on such a scale could not "regulated" by higher authorities and to be allowed process. There's more oversight given for obtaining a Government arts grant!

Immediate and appropriate action must be done in order to save the precious lives of sea creatures and the entire ecosystem. We can't afford to lose another portion of our underwater resources. I just do hope that the people responsible for this will be punished to serve as an example to others.

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