Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Why We Should Thank BP

David Strahan offers up the reason we should thank BP. It may be the wakeup call we need about our addiction. But first he frames up the argument:

It is easy to understand American hostility to BP, but it is fundamentally misplaced. Never mind that Transocean and Halliburton were also involved and it seems there is plenty of blame to go round. Never mind that more oil is spilled every year in the Niger Delta, where Shell and Exxon are the big operators, and which supplies 40 per cent of US oil imports, without a peep of American protest. Never mind that despite the hyperventilation the slick is still relatively small by historical and international comparison. The plain fact is BP is not uniquely culpable, just unlucky.

Oilmen tell me the US Gulf of Mexico has always been loosely regulated compared to world leaders Norway and, since Piper Alpha, the British North Sea. But now we discover the safety regime is not just slack but also profoundly corrupt. First-hand testimony reveals drug- taking government inspectors from the Minerals Management Service routinely accepted gifts from operators, and allowed them to fill out their own safety reports in pencil to be inked over by officials later. It would make a Banana Republic blush, and means it is unlikely any operator was working to higher operational and safety standards than BP. In other words, it was an accident waiting to happen and it could have happened to anyone.

This was an accident waiting to happen and America's oiled chickens are coming home to roost. What are we going to do now?

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