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BP's Response Plan Was A Joke, Group Charges

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BP's official response plan for oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico doesn't actually say anything about how the company would stop a blowout, wildly underestimates the worst-case scenario, and lists walruses among the Gulf's "Sensitive Biological Resources" -- leading an environmental group to suggest Monday that no regulator could possibly have seriously examined it.

"This response plan is not worth the paper it is written on," PEER board member Rick Steiner, a marine professor, said in a statement. "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 entire 582-page plan, titled "BP Gulf of Mexico Regional Oil Spill Response Plan" and dated June 30, 2009, can be found here; the section on "worst case" scenarios is here.

The plan also doesn't contain information about tracking sub-surface oil plumes from deep-water blowouts.

Meanwhile, it gives a website for a Japanese home shopping site as the link to one of the "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".

One part of the plan that does seem to be very much in force is the guide for public statements, directing company spokesmen not to make statements that contain any of the following:

a) Speculations concerning liability for the spill or its legal consequences.

b) Speculations regarding the cause of the spill. An extended inquiry may be needed to determine the actual cause, and legal liability could be affected by what is said.

c) Estimates of damage and/or value expressed in dollars, production statistics, sales volume, or insurance coverage.

d) Estimates of how long cleanup will take or cleanup costs.

e) Promises that property, ecology, or anything else will be restored to normal.

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