BP Starts Admitting Blame For Gulf Oil Spill

Spotlight on feds for being misled by earlier assurances

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After passing blame for the Gulf oil spill during congressional hearings earlier this week, the head of British Petroleum is now accepting some—admitting that his company wasn’t prepared to handle a spill that continues to pour 210,000 gallons of oil each day. <See the undersea video of leaking oil.>

The Wall Street Journal reports that BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward "in an interview with a small group of journalists Wednesday night, admitted the U.K.-based oil giant had not had the technology available to stop the leak, and said in hindsight it was ‘probably true’ that BP should have done more to prepare for an emergency of this kind."

Hayward’s admission is in stark contrast to assurances BP made in convincing the federal Minerals Management Service to permit it to drill in mile-deep Gulf waters. Similar assurances by Shell Oil convinced MMS to permit Shell’s exploratory offshore drilling this summer in the Arctic Ocean—something Earthjustice is working vigorously to prevent.

As AP reports today, the cozy relationship with MMS and the oil industry has prevented effective regulatory oversight and may be a prime reason that an estimated 5 million gallons of oil are now threatening the Gulf of Mexico. AOL has come up with a number of scenarios—from grim to tragic—forecasting environmental and economic havoc.

With more congressional hearings to come, Hayward’s company continues desperate measures to slow the leak, including another attempt at capping it with a containment dome.

From 2006–2014, Terry was managing editor for Earthjustice's blog, online monthly newsletter and print Earthjustice Quarterly Magazine.