FlowingData makes it clear that compared to even the low standards of other oil companies, BP is in a class of its own for negligence and disregard for the safety of its workers and of its wells.
In The Sunday Times, Andrew Sullivan lets off some steam. (Whole column worth reading)
At first blush, the onslaught against BP does seem a little much. But once you examine its recent record, the cornercutting and recklessness that precipitated this calamity, and the company’s enmeshment with the regulators who are supposed to be keeping watch … well, you tend to get more angry, not less. Take a simple comparison with other multinational oil companies. Over the past three years, the US government department that monitors compliance with health and safety regulations has cited several companies for negligence or corner-cutting. Sunoco and ConocoPhillips have had eight “egregious, wilful” safety violations apiece. Citgo had two. Exxon had one. BP had … 760.
Alas, what won’t change is the oil addiction that has forced the US to drill deeper and deeper in more and more treacherous waters, where techniques carry more risks precisely because the terrain is brand new. If you want to assign real, structural blame, it belongs in the end to the American people, who simply refuse to wean themselves off carbon and want to continue having the cheapest petrol in the West. This habit bolsters America’s enemies, empowers oil-rich Islamic states and is slowly cooking the planet.
Sullivan again endorses my favorite solution to our oil addition: a carbon tax.
There is plenty to be upset about in this whole fiasco, but certainly one of those things isn’t Obama’s tone or emotion. Here’s Clive Crook in the Financial Times.
The criticism of Mr Obama’s handling of the oil spill has been especially and flamboyantly unreasonable. So far as capping the leak is concerned, the relevant expertise resides with BP and the other oil companies. The notion that they should be “pushed aside” is risible. In any case, of course, the administration is in charge – overseeing the operation, as opposed to directing it in detail, which is as it should be. A deepwater drilling moratorium is in place and a thoroughgoing review of the regulatory regime is under way. The White House has been active in mobilising resources to contain damage to the coastline.
The view seems to be that staying calm in a crisis is all very well, except in a crisis. Then, the president must radiate rage and fear, pretend to direct operations, race about uselessly, weeping and hugging as he goes, doing stuff that will not help and might make things worse.
Crook has been very reasonable about this issue from early on. I’m sure he’d appreciate this video.
(video via Ta-Nehisi Coates)