There are plenty of people, corporations and organizations to blame for the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico but if you want to see one of them go look in the mirror. We are the ones who are addicted to oil.
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.
Yes, it was pretty much an unregulated free for all in the Gulf. Not at all surprising after eight years of the oil men running the country. Should Obama have tried to clean up the Mineral Management Service before he announced more off shore drilling? Probably. But the very people who are howling the loudest now about his inaction would have been howling even louder if had attempted to do anything to increase regulation in the Gulf.
So does the buck stop with us as individuals? The answer is yes with a caveat or two. Until a month or so ago you could not watch television for very long without seeing an ad from an oil company. And the message; yes they were interested in alternative energy but there really weren’t any alternatives to oil. In exchange for the ad revenue the media “news” repeated the message and made sure that any alternate message never saw the light of day.
Cross posted at Newshoggers