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Kirsten Stade (202) 265-7337
Did Anyone Actually Read BP's Oil Spill Response Plan?
Walruses and Seals, Non-Existent Equipment Lists and Other Fanciful References
The "BP Regional Oil Spill Response Plan - Gulf of Mexico" dated June 30, 2009 covers all of the company's operations in the Gulf, not just the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon. The plan:
- Lists "Sea Lions, Seals, Sea Otters [and] Walruses" as "Sensitive Biological Resources" in the Gulf, suggesting that portions were cribbed from previous Arctic exploratory planning;
- Gives a web site for a Japanese home shopping site as the link to one of its "primary equipment providers for BP in the Gulf of Mexico Region [for]rapid deployment of spill response resources on a 24 hour, 7 days a week basis"; and
- Directs its media spokespeople to never make "promises that property, ecology, or anything else will be restored to normal," implying that BP will only commit candor by omission.
seriously, the plan does not contain information about tracking
sub-surface oil plumes from deepwater blowouts or preventing disease
(viruses, bacteria, etc.) transmission to captured animals in rehab
facilities, which was found to be a very serious risk following the
Exxon Valdez spill. It also lacks any oceanographic or meteorological
information, despite the clear relevance of this data to spill response.
"This response plan is not worth the paper it is written on," said PEER Board Member Rick Steiner, a noted marine professor and conservationist who tracked the Exxon Valdez spill, noting that the plan is almost 600 pages largely consisting of lists, phone numbers and blank forms. "Incredibly, this voluminous document never once discusses how to stop a deep water blowout even though BP has significant deep water operations in the Gulf."
The chapter on "Worst Case Discharge" features wildly optimistic projections of the maximum size of any crude spill and bland assurances that within hours of any incident "personnel, equipment, and materials in sufficient quantities and recovery capacity to respond effectively to oil spills from the facilities and leases covered by this plan, including the worst case discharge scenarios" will be deployed.
"Pointing out our gaping incapacity in spill prevention and response is not just an exercise in hindsight," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that, according to the soon-to-be-defunct U.S. Minerals Management Service, there are approximately 4,000 producing platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, nearly half of them are "major platforms" with nearly 1,000 of these manned by personnel. "We ought to be losing sleep that there is still no sane spill response plan for the Gulf.
Visit the Japanese web site that BP provides for one its primary emergency equipment providers
Read BP's "Worst Case" narrative
View the entire 583-page BP Gulf Spill response Plan
See Interior Sec. Salazar ignoring warnings of poor spill prevention and response capacity