There is one question that I would really like an answer to. Who died and made BP king of the Gulf of Mexico? In recent weeks, BP has almost seemed more interested in keeping the American people away from the oil spill than in actually cleaning it up. Journalists are being pushed around and denied access, disaster workers are being intimidated and abused and now BP has even go so far as to hire an army of private mercenaries to enforce their will along the Gulf coast. Are we suddenly living in occupied Iraq? How in the world did a foreign oil company get the right to start pointing guns at the American people? The last time I checked, BP did not own the Gulf of Mexico and did not have the right to tell the American people where they can and cannot go. The truth is that BP could have avoided all of this by running an open, honest and transparent operation from the start. They could have welcomed help from all sources, they could have tried to be open with the media, and they could have tried to be fair with the volunteers and rescue workers. But instead BP has been conducting this whole thing as if we are living in a totalitarian dictatorship and they are the dictators.
Over the last several weeks, members of the mainstream media attempting to cover the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have been yelled at, harassed, kicked off public beaches and threatened with arrest. The Obama administration keeps promising "to improve media access", but so far their promises haven't seemed to make much difference. In fact, a recent AP report detailed several recent highly disturbing incidents of journalist intimidation....
But it is not just the media that are being pushed around. The Louisiana Environmental Action Network is reporting that BP is actually threatening to fire fishermen hired to help with the oil spill cleanup for using respirators and other safety equipment that wasn't provided by the company.
The workers say that they are only using their own safety equipment because BP has not provided what they need. It is a fact that a large number of rescue workers have already gotten sick enough to be admitted to the hospital, so it certainly makes sense that those working to clean up the oil would want to do whatever they can to stay safe.
But no, BP has to be a bunch of jerks about the whole thing.
Even the EPA says that workers need to be careful. Hugh Kaufman, a senior policy analyst at the EPA's office of solid waste and emergency response, made the following statement during an interview on Thursday....
"There's no way you can be working in that toxic soup without getting exposures."
It's not just the oil that is the problem. The chemical dispersants that BP is using in the Gulf are even more toxic than the oil. In fact, because it is so extremely toxic, the UK's Marine Management Organization has completely banned Corexit 9500, so if there was a major oil spill in the North Sea, BP would not be able to use it.
But the Obama administration has allowed BP to dump over a million gallons of Corexit 9500, Corexit 9527 and other highly toxic dispersants into the Gulf of Mexico.
Apparently the truth is that BP would rather disperse the oil so that the spill doesn't look so bad even if it means creating an ecological disaster of nightmarish proportions.
You see, these days BP does what it wants, and anyone who doesn't like it gets pushed out of the way.
Monique Harden, the co-director and attorney at the New Orleans-based Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, is so outraged over BP's behavior that she recently made the following statement....
"BP should not be running the Gulf region like a prison warden, and we've got to stop that."
But rather than becoming more open and taking responsibility for their actions, BP has now hired private security contractors to keep the American people away from the oil cleanup sites.
In other words, BP has brought in a horde of private mercenaries (just like the U.S. uses in Iraq and Afghanistan) to muscle the American people around.
Yeah, we are really going to appreciate that.
Doesn't BP understand that the American people do not respond well to this kind of nonsense?
In fact, it is being alleged that BP has actually attempted to manipulate the search results on sites like Google and Yahoo.
They seem absolutely obsessed with controlling what we see and think.
Perhaps what BP should be obsessed with is stopping the oil from shooting out of the ground.
Meanwhile, BP execs are busy testifying in front of Congress and making half-hearted apologies.
Carl-Henric Svanberg, the BP chairman, has even apologized for referring to those affected by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill as "small people".
Isn't that nice of him?
While all of this is going on, BP is already trying to ensure that things go their way legally. Back in May, BP requested that one particular judge be assigned to preside over all lawsuits related to the spill. Well, it turns out that this particular judge gets tens of thousands of dollars a year in oil royalties and is paid travel expenses to attend oil industry conferences.
Isn't that convenient?
But that is how the game is played these days.
Meanwhile, the "oil volcano" on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico continues to pump out a nightmarish amount of oil every single day. BP is even admitting that oil is escaping from the leak at such high pressure that if they try to cap it the entire well may blow.
So this crisis may keep getting worse for months.
By the time this is over, will anything in the Gulf be left alive?
Even now, hordes of dolphins, fish, sharks, crabs, rays and other sea creatures find themselves trapped between the rapidly advancing oil and the shore. Unprecedented numbers are showing up just off the Gulf coast in an attempt to escape certain death, but once the oil reaches shore there will be nowhere else for them to go. The tragedy will be unspeakable.
Things did not have to turn out this way. BP and the Obama administration could have done things much differently. But they didn't.
Now we all have to live with the results.