An even bigger focal point, however, was the degree of preparedness of each of the companies. Several lawmakers made the point that the companies made a show of being prepared for a worst-case spill, but in fact were no more prepared than BP was.
Some Republican members of the panel, like Rep. Fred Upton from Michigan, appeared to try to ride to the rescue of the beleaguered executives. "Jobs, environment, economy" were the big issues, he said, dismissing what he called calculated attempts by some on the panel to make renewable energy and a push for a climate-energy bill the focus of the hearing.
He and others hammered at what he called "cookie-cutter" oil spill response plans that he noted were identical to each other in most respects.
"It just seems to me that for each of your companies, the only [oil-spill cleanup] technology you seem to be relying upon is a Xerox machine," Markey retorted.
Was it embarrassing for the executives to have each of their oil-spill response plans refer to species not even present in the Gulf – such as walruses – or to cite a deceased University of Miami expert as a reference, as they all did, Representative Markey asked them.