Moments after BP America Chairman & CEO Lamar McKay told ABC's Jake Tapper that safety is BP's "number one priority," McKay said the oil giant won't stop drilling in the Gulf of Mexico even though it cannot explain what caused the massive spill. Watch:
TAPPER: I just have a couple more questions. Just a few months ago, a BP executive protested proposed new safety regulations for oil rigs, writing to the government that quote, "while BP is supportive of companies having a system in place to reduce risks, accidents, injuries and spills, we are not supportive of extensive proscriptive regulations." Will BP continue to fight and lobby against safety regulations?
MCKAY: Well, I would characterize the letter you’re talking about slightly differently. That letter was in response to the government’s request for input on safety regulations that the MMS was looking at. The rest of the letter actually recommends improvements and specific recommendations around safety regulations should they choose to change them. So we’re not fighting anything about safety. Safety is the number one priority. We’re going to figure out what happened here, and that is going to help the MMS and help ourselves and help the industry get safer, so we’re not fighting anything about safety.
TAPPER: All right, last question, Mr. McKay. You had several fail/safe mechanisms on this rig, and they all failed. Since you don’t yet know what caused this accident, will you stop all operations until you know? How can the American people trust that there won’t be another explosion at another BP facility?
MCKAY: Well, we’re working in conjunction with the government on understanding everything we can understand as quickly as we can. We’re not going to do anything that we think is unsafe. We’re doing extra tests on various pieces of equipment to make absolutely sure they will work in the condition they’re intended to work in. We won’t do any work if we don’t think it can be carried out safely and without impact. But we are working very closely with the government in trying to understand this and see if there should be any changes quickly.
TAPPER: All right. Lamar McKay, thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate your time.
Earlier the interview, Tapper pointed out that BP had previously vouched for the safety of drilling at the site of the oil spill. McKay also conceded that he couldn't even say how much oil was spilling into the Gulf.
So we've got a massive spill of undetermined size flowing from a well that BP had declared safe. And now we're supposed to take them at their word when they say they'll only continue operating rigs that they believe to be safe?