Dem: BP too eager to spread blame for spill

Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), one of several top Democrats probing the BP oil spill, said Wednesday that BP is too eager to point fingers at other companies in its new internal report on the Gulf of Mexico spill.

“This report is not BP’s mea culpa. Of their own eight key findings, they only explicitly take responsibility for half of one. BP is happy to slice up blame, as long as they get the smallest piece,” said Markey, a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and chairman of the Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming.

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His comment follows BP’s release of the report Wednesday morning on the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 workers and touched off the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

The company, in the report, accepts some blame for the accident but points to alleged errors by Halliburton Co., the contractor that performed cementing work on the ill-fated Macondo well, and personnel for Deepwater Horizon rig owner Transocean Ltd.


Markey, while criticizing BP, also said the disaster stemmed from failures by a number of parties.

“From the assurances given by the oil industry that this type of accident wouldn’t happen and could be contained if it did, to the overly-cozy relationships established between the oil industry and regulators, the series of events leading to this spill stretches back decades and the blame spans across the entire oil industry,” Markey said in a statement.

Markey said he was looking forward to the results of various probes that are not funded by BP or by other companies involved in the accident, arguing they will inform the statutory changes needed to prevent future accidents. The accident is the subject of several ongoing investigations, including a joint Interior Department-U.S. Coast Guard probe.

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) also issued a statement Wednesday afternoon arguing that the report “glosses over the role and responsibility of BP” and also “regrettably does not address the corporate culture at BP that shortchanged safety and caused so much harm to the Gulf and the Deepwater Horizon workers.”

The report also drew notice from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who is poised to chair the panel if Republicans reclaim the House in November’s elections. He said it reveals a “tragic chain of mistakes by companies, individuals, and government regulators.”

“Had someone, in any of the multiple points on this chain of failure, done their job properly this disaster could have been mitigated or avoided entirely. While the report is appropriately blunt, it outlines a degree of negligence by BP, its partners, and regulators that can only be called shameful,” Issa said in a statement.

Darren Goode contributed.

This post was updated at 4:14 p.m.