Could the Gulf oil spill happen again?

Congressional hearings continued over responsibility for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

  “57 days ago, in the dead of night, the worst environmental nightmare in US history began,” said Representative Edward Markey (Democrat-Massachusetts) at a hearing in the House of Representatives on the Gulf oil spill. “The American people demand answers from the oil industry,” continued Markey.

And at the hearing on June 15, several men who represent that industry took their place before the congressmen.

“ One of the essential questions for today’s hearing is whether the other oil companies are any better prepared than BP,” said Representative Henry Waxman (Democrat-California).

“We have to take every step to prevent these things from happening, because when they happen, it is a fact that we’re not well equipped to prevent any and all damage, there will be damage occurring,” said Rex Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil.

Although Tillerson’s response to that question seemed honest, ExxonMobil’s response plans for an oil disaster weren’t completely truthful.

“As I’m sure you know, there aren’t any Walruses in the gulf of Mexico and there have not been for three million years. How can ExxonMobil have walruses in their response plans in the Gulf of Mexico?” asked Markey.

“It’s unfortunate that walruses were included and its an embarrassment that they were included,” said Tillerson in response.

Embarrassment seemed to be the theme of the hearings. The oil executives expressed sorrow for the situation in the Gulf, but they did not present any new information. The question remains if the anger and regret expressed at the hearing will translate into changing the way oil companies go about drilling.

“You can’t have a contingency plan that says cross your fingers and hope the blowout preventer works,” said Representative Joe Barton (Republican-Texas).

“You should have done more to prevent this unthinkable disaster. If you can’t plug the hole, don’t drill the well,” added Representative George Kenneth Butterfield (Democrat-North Carolina).