Thursday, June 10, 2010

BP: Beyond Pathetic

Not abstract art; it's only a small part of the Gulf oil spill

Each day, I become more horrified and sickened by the sights of globs of tarry oil on the beautiful Gulf shores and beaches in the southern United States. BP has more than a disastrous oil leak on their hands; they have a colossal PR nightmare on their hands. Their stock is plummeting and the American public becomes angrier by the minute at the expanding oil slick that is ruining beaches and marshland, disabling and/or killing wildlife, and destroying livelihoods. The CEO of BP, Tony Hayward, seems to have dropped from view with the media after his comment, “I’d like my life back” (video below). As Hayward seems to have cut back his appearances with the news media, the New York Times is now reporting that BP appears to be making an effort to limit the flow of news about the oil spill, saying the following:

To some critics of the response effort by BP and the government, instances of news media being kept at bay are just another example of a broader problem of officials’ filtering what images of the spill the public sees.

Scientists, too, have complained about the trickle of information that has emerged from BP and government sources. Three weeks passed, for instance, from the time the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20 and the first images of oil gushing from an underwater pipe were released by BP.

“I think they’ve been trying to limit access,” said Representative Edward J. Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts who fought BP to release more video from the underwater rovers that have been filming the oil-spewing pipe. “It is a company that was not used to transparency. It was not used to having public scrutiny of what it did.”

BP’s actions with this whole disaster are pathetic. At first, they seemed to minimize the amount of oil being leaked into the Gulf, and then they minimized the impact to the coastline. But lucky for Americans, the media can be like an attack dog that is not willing to let go – they will continue to dig into the story despite whatever roadblocks are placed in front of them. In my opinion, the time will be coming all too soon when the oil will be spread so far over the Gulf coastline that there is no way that BP can keep the media away in ANY location.

Rubbing salt into the wound is this report from Business Insider, “The UK Is Now Freaking Out About The U.S. Reaction To BP” which says:

“Major Conservative political leader and Mayor of London Boris Johnson has called President Barack Obama's language "anti-British" after the President called BP 'British Petroleum' rather than its modern name.

Conservative Lord Tebbit's quote is just too vitriolic to paraphrase.

From The Daily Mail:

"The whole might of American wealth and technology is displayed as utterly unable to deal with the disastrous spill - so what more natural than a crude, bigoted, xenophobic display of partisan political Presidential petulance against a multinational company," said Lord Tebbit.

Much of the furor over the fallout from the BP spill in the UK stems from the potential damage to the company's dividends, which are linked to many pensions in the country.”

With the oil disaster in the Gulf now listed as the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history, it is clear that many people, and many types of wildlife, will feel the effects for years to come. It will also require a lot of money to restore the land, water, wildlife, and livelihoods to the way it was before the oil leak occurred. Will BP have the money to make it right? Possibly not, if they pay out those dividends. Does it bother me that many pensions in the UK may be linked to those BP dividends? Not in the slightest, seeing that the livelihoods of many Americans have already been destroyed by BP's own inability to fix and contain the problem. Would any citizens of the UK like it if that oil spill happened on their own beaches and shores? I think not. And, if Lord Tebbit is upset that Obama referred to them as “British Petroleum,” all I can say is that’s still what I call them too, after all, they had the name “British Petroleum” for a long time. It’s a simple mistake, nothing like a big mistake such as your company’s oil rig blowing up, killing people and causing an uncontrolled oil spill of huge proportions.

BP – it’s time to fix this oil spill once and for all. Pretend that this happened right on the coastline of England – wouldn’t you want the leak plugged and the oil cleaned up immediately? I would think so. And, until you make this right by cleaning up the beaches, restoring wildlife habitats, and compensating American businesses for their losses, I don’t think once cent should be paid to any shareholder. Shareholders may not like it, but their dividends are now covered by that black, tarry oil too.

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