Kevin Costner calls for $895 million Gulf oil spill disaster plan


NEW ORLEANS – Frustrated by what he feels was a slow and uncoordinated response to the rapid spread of oil in the aftermath of the BP well blowout, actor Kevin Costner has proposed an $895 million, 190-vessel plan to respond to future disasters in the Gulf of Mexico.

The star of “Bull Durham,” “Field of Dreams” and “Waterworld,” who also owns a company that developed equipment to separate oil from seawater, submitted his proposal to Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement Director Michael Bromwich during a meeting in Mississippi last week. He also has discussed it with Gulf Coast governors and members of Congress during the past few weeks.

Costner’s plan focuses on removing oil from the water’s surface once a spill occurs, distinguishing it from the $1 billion rapid-response proposal announced earlier this year by Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell. The oil companies’ plan would redesign existing blowout prevention equipment used in deepwater drilling to better capture oil in the event of an accident.

“No one has offered up a plan – neither industry nor government – and the plan that was being tossed around at some level by the consortium is something that didn’t deal at all with what everybody in the world knows: seeing oil come to the surface and move its way towards shore,” Costner said in a phone interview from his home in Santa Barbara, Calif. “The oil spill response is nonexistent in that billion-dollar plan.”

Costner’s proposal for the Gulf would establish “coastal response facilities” in Port Fourchon and Lake Charles, along with Corpus Christi, Texas; Gulfport, Miss.; Pensacola, Fla., or Mobile, Ala.; and Key West, Fla. A team of corporations financed by the oil industry would provide the boats and equipment needed to respond to spills of different sizes.

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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