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article imageOp-Ed: BP and the art of denial

By Lynn Herrmann     May 20, 2010 in Environment
As BP’s greed evolves into our nightmare world, a review of comments made by the British oil giant’s executives, spokespeople, and US government officials now opens the door to criminal charges.
While the oil company’s Gulf of Mexico calamity will eventually stain the entire Gulf, Atlantic seaboard and any and all points in between, there have been a series of comments made by those intimately connected with the disaster who must be held accountable.
For instance, Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA), leads us down the path of dilution rates when she said, presumably with a straight face: “By the time the oil is in the loop current, it's likely to be very, very diluted. And so it's not likely to have a very significant impact. It sounds scarier than it is."
Then there is the world’s newest hero, speaking like a real man on modesty. Tony Hayward, BP Chief Executive Officer, has said of the oil spill disaster: ““I think the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to have been very, very modest.”
Lisa P. Jackson, EPA Administrator, spoke with conviction and a knowledge based on, one would presume, years of experience, when informing us that “The effects of underwater dispersant use on the environment are still widely unknown.”
Of course, that comment came before BP has now been ordered by Jackson’s EPA to come up with a new form of pollution that is not quite as toxic to humans, and one would guess, the food chain. That order was issued today and effectively gave the oil giant 24 hours more as sweetheart of the environment.
Not to be outdone, BP’s Chairman and President Lamar McKay told a group of elected government officials that “We have a blowout preventer that didn’t work.” On a long list of understatements in the history of civilization, these eight words have catapulted the oil baron into the top 5.
His underling, Doug Suttles, BP’s Chief Operating Officer of Exploration and Production, earlier this week said: “It appears that the application of the subsea dispersant is actually working.” More than a half million gallons of the toxic dispersants have been used to date, an amount the EPA refers to as “unprecedented volumes.”
Desperately hoping for some change, President Obama shined as he entered into the foray. "I am disappointed that an effort to ensure that oil companies pay fully for disasters they cause has stalled in the United States Senate on a partisan basis," he said about a failed senate vote. Or was it about his failure to lead fellow elected politicians during a time of national, soon to be international, environmental crisis? Pick one.
Speaking on the Today show last Friday, Suttles, the underling, told the morning show audience to judge BP on its actions. Great. He then said: “Look at what we do.” In his defense, the University of Texas’ Mechanical Engineering Department’s website does call him a “role model”.
The US Coast Guard, in efforts at living up to its name, allowed Rear Admiral Mary Landry to speak, informing us, a day after the Deepwater rig sank, that "We have been able to determine that there is nothing emanating from the wellhead."
Drink your milk, eat your cookies and go to bed. There’s nothing to worry about. Her comments, of course, were based on information provided to her by BP, not on any observations the Coast Guard might have been performing according to job description.
Hayward, once again confirming that he is no stranger to cluelessness, said last week: “"The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume."
Research has failed to produce any quotes by George W. Bush, or his pal Dick Cheney, over the current BP disaster.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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