Saturday, June 12, 2010

Let's Get Beyond Petroleum

It's time we start boycotting BP and its subsidiaries. When so many Americans are proclaiming "let's take our country back", we have here a perfect opportunity to do just that.

While the environment bleeds oil, BP operates with near-impunity and exercises dictatorial control of the spill zone. The company is prepared to spend billions of dollars for PR campaigns on television and in other media. Its lobbyists are hounding Congress to retain the oil spill damages cap at its current token level of $75 Million (rather than a newly-proposed cap of $10 Billion). BP has bought priority positions on internet search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. This is to put its "sanitized" version of events at the top of the page when internet users search for terms related to the spill. At every stage of the crisis, BP has intentionally underestimated the impacts of the disaster. It has impeded and then denied the results of scientific investigations at every stage of this crisis (only to later admit the research was correct.) They have ignored health hazards for clean-up workers, fishermen and residents of the impacted areas and have employed proprietary disbursing agents known to be harmful to humans and wildlife. They are currently working behind the scenes with loss prevention experts to minimize their liability to the American people. And they have even gone so far as to order our U.S. Coast Guard to deny the press access to "sensitive areas" of the disaster scene. The list is unending. (And if history is any example, they will continue to evade liability for decades to come.)

Make no mistake, every American will pay for this disaster. BP will amortize its liabilities across its costs-of-goods. They'll even make a profit on these expenses! The consumer will pay more. (Even for non-BP brands.) In the long run, unless the company collapses, BP's shareholders will not be denied.

Yes, I share the Tea Party's sentiment. "It's time to take our country back (from multinational corporations immune to U.S. law, that is!)"


Further reading: "The Spill, The Scandal and the President: The inside story of how Obama failed to crack down on the corruption of the Bush years – and let the world's most dangerous oil company get away with murder" - Rolling Stone Magazine.

Related AP story: Gulf Awash in 27,000 Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells

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