Oleaginous Question of the Day

Ingesting some facts from Ravi Somaiya’s short article What Not To Say When Your Company is Ruining the World.

The article’s a discourse analysis of BP CEO Tony Hayward’s recent clueless and bizarre comments on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, backed up with some fact checking. But here’s the gorilla in the room:

  • BP had 760 safety violations in the past 3 years, ExxonMobil had 1.

How does a company with 760 safety violations over three years, 253 a year, that operates in extremely dangerous and remote environments, continue to receive government approval for its unsafe and intrinsically risky operations? They were clearly operating at a substandard industry level! As Jon Stewart points out, ExxonMobil could have 70 times the safety violations and still be 90% safer than BP!

The only answer I can come up with are corrupt regulators and a culture of anti-regulation; a culture promoting profit before environment and safety. Both parties have proven themselves to gloss over energy regulation concerns, particularly in mining and oil drilling disasters that have clear histories of major safety violations.

Maybe it had something to do with the Mineral Management Service (MMS), the regulatory agency responsible for overseeing drilling in the Gulf, allowing oil industry leaders to fill in their own investigative reports in pencil. Read this unbelievable article.

Not to mention the exemptions from environmental assessments. How do companies just get to waive applications of the law? What’s the point of having laws promoting safety and environmental sustainability if companies can just file for exemption? Funny how the act of exemption, waiving a law, seems a lot like corrupt government favoritism more expected from corrupt developing nations than the United States. Any fair person can see the US has been coddling businesses, and it hasn’t turned out well for the oil, coal, or finance industry performance. But industry profits? Now that’s a different story.

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