Recently I had lunch with my writer friend Bridget and we got onto the topic of BP’s broken oil well bleeding into the ocean. I mentioned that of the major oil companies, BP is the one that insiders say has a history of putting profits ahead of safety. I heard that from somebody who retired from Exxon-Mobil management.
Bridget retorted, “Say Exxon, and people think Valdez!” She went on to say, “Every time the subject of government regulation comes up, the big oil companies say they can regulate themselves and it works better if it’s voluntary. Well, then, they ought to volunteer right out into the Gulf of Mexico and not just leave it to BP. They have thousands of smart engineers and billions of dollars. Let every one of those oil companies get out there and help do something about that oil spill. That’s the only way they’ll come out of this with any credibility left.”
She’s got a point. This one looks so bad. And so unnecessary. The newspaper’s had plenty of reporting about blowout preventers having failed before, just not catastrophically. This one is public knowledge to an incredible degree, too. My boss’ two-year-old grandson in Seattle asked his mom if he was too young to go help clean the birds and beaches!