The Huffington Post - Since a busted oil well began spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico a month ago, the catastrophe has constantly been measured against the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster. The Alaska spill leaked nearly 11 million gallons of crude, killed countless animals and tarnished the owner of the damaged tanker, Exxon.
Yet the leader of botched containment efforts in the critical hours after the tanker ran aground wasn't Exxon Mobil Corp. It was BP PLC, the same firm now fighting to plug the Gulf leak.
BP owned a controlling interest in the Alaska oil industry consortium that was required to write a cleanup plan and respond to the spill two decades ago. It also supplied the top executive of the consortium, Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. Lawsuits and investigations that followed the Valdez disaster blamed both Exxon and Alyeska for a response that was bungled on many levels.
People who had a front row seat to the Alaska spill tell The Associated Press that BP's actions in the Gulf suggest it hasn't changed much at all.
The Gulf leak has grown to at least 6 million gallons since an oil rig exploded April 20, killing 11, and is almost certain to overtake Valdez as the nation's worst oil spill. Read more.