Don’t Cry For Me, Joe Barton
Poor British Petroleum
What do you give to a corporation that has cut corners, ignored warnings, skimped on safety and relied on old and inadequate spill cleanup technology when you think that the President of the White House is being mean to them? If you are Joe Barton, Republican from Texas, you give them sympathies and apologies for a government that expects said corporation to take responsibility for its recklessness.
Okay, accidents happen. We understand that. We get it. There are no guarantees that risky oil-extraction ventures in mile-deep water, drilling 13,000 feet through rock, will not have some occasional problems. It ain’t easy to get oil out of there. We are even aware that we need the oil.
Despite the promise of limitless energy available through alternate sources, a transition to a solar and wind economy is many decades away. You and I and our other readers can cut down on our electric usage with the right kinds of bulbs and judicious usage of air conditioning. We can drive fuel efficient cars and take fewer trips. We can use public transportation when possible. We can shop for goods that use less plastic and plastic packaging. We can make these little efforts to cut down on the need for oil. As consumers we can make a small, conscious dent in the demand and thirst for oil, but as consumers we are not going to be able to do enough to reduce demand so that offshore drilling is not necessary.
Given the dangers and risk of drilling, and given the steady demand for petroleum energy and petroleum-based products, I feel no sympathy at this point for the British Petroleum Corporation. They are not suffering. Nor do I feel compelled to “like” them on Facebook. This is a company that recklessly engaged in practices to speed the process of drilling and extraction in an area of the ocean that should be approached with great caution.
Representative Joe Barton, who along with Minnesota’s native daughter Michele Bachmann has felt the strings of sympathy tugging his heart for BP, apologized for Obama’s strong-arm tactics in getting BP to agree to a 20 billion dollar fund to recompense those who have been financially damaged by the leaking oil. While he has since unapologized and said that absolutely BP needs to be held responsible for their mess, he only did so to stem a political embarrassment. He does feel sorry for them. He weeps for them and the troubles they have faced.
He weeps for BP as they accept deposits from continuing contracts from the United States Military. BP is not going to disappear under the weight of excessive demands from the United States government for money. From the Truthout.org article (originally published at TomDispatch.com):
In 2009, according to the Defense Energy Support Center, the military awarded $22.5 billion in energy contracts. More than $16 billion of that went to purchasing bulk fuel. Some 10 top petroleum suppliers got the lion’s share, more than $11.5 billion, among them big names like Shell, Exxon Mobil and Valero. The largest contractor, however, was BP, which received more than $2.2 billion — almost 12% of all petroleum-contract dollars awarded by the Pentagon for the year.
Does anyone else notice the amount of oil that is used to protect our energy dependence?
They are going to come out okay, financially, despite their track record of safety violations. Consider that they are extracting, recovering and selling oil from the spill, to the tune of 15,000 barrels per day:
It couldn’t be worse, could it? In the Gulf, BP now claims to be retrieving 15,000 barrels of oil a day from the busted pipe 5,000 feet down. That’s three times the total amount of oil it claimed, bare weeks ago, was coming out of that pipe. A government panel of experts now suggests that the real figure could be up to 60,000 barrels or 2.5 million gallons a day, the equivalent of an Exxon Valdez spill every four days — and some independent experts think the figure could actually be closer to 100,000 barrels a day.
I don’t think we need to cry for poor British Petroleum getting fleeced by the government. I think that we need to be tougher with them, to make an example of them so that we scare all of the deep-sea oil extraction concerns. It needs to be more expensive to cut corners than to do this the proper way if we are stuck with offshore drilling.
Don’t cry for BP, Joe Barton. They’ll be okay, even if they get shaken down.
This entry was posted on Friday, June 18th, 2010 at 6:28 am and is filed under Mike Haubrich, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.