Oil Executives Distance Their Companies from BP at Congressional Hearing

Top executives from Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp.

and Royal Dutch Shell PLC sought to distance themselves from rival BP PLC before a congressional panel Tuesday, then took tongue-lashings from lawmakers who accused them of relying on sloppy, "cookie cutter" plans for responding to large-scale oil spills.

The finger-pointing came hours before news that the oil spill was even worse than previously thought.

Three plans also referenced protecting walruses, which, Markey noted, “have not called the Gulf of Mexico home for three million years.” But Republicans at the hearing complained that Democrats were overreacting and using the disaster to push their agenda. “Anger and frustration do not solve problems,” one Texas congressman admonished them. The oil giants, meanwhile, argued that the Gulf spill was a fluke; Exxon’s CEO called it “a dramatic departure from the industry norm” that “did not occur at the 14,000 other deepwater wells” worldwide.