Congressman Questions ExxonMobil Oil Spill Response Plan

Representative Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) is the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee.

WASHINGTON, D.C.- A member of Congress is questioning ExxonMobil's response to the Mayflower oil spill on March 29th.

Representative Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) is the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee.

Representative Markey says the plan that ExxonMobil used to react to the spill has not been approved by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

According to Markey, that new plan increased the response time for worst-case spills by 50 percent to 18 minutes.

That response plan had not yet been approved by the agency overseeing pipeline safety, and had been submitted just two weeks before the spill in Mayflower, according to a letter in response to an inquiry from Markey.

Markey discusses the response time issue in a press release on the Democrats' Natural Resources Committee web page.

“We saw during the BP oil spill that oil companies did not have response plans to match the severity of an accident. It appears that Exxon may have been operating off an unapproved plan that increases response time to an accident, calling into question how seriously they have addressed safety and response with this tar sands pipeline,” said Rep. Markey.

Markey has corresponded with both the PHMSA and ExxonMobil about the response time.

That correspondence can be examined here.

Yesterday the State of Arkansas and the Justice Department filed suit against the oil company for damages from the spill and for alleged illegal storage of waste resulting from the spill.
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