British Polluters

As more and more facts come out about BP and their ill-fated oil rig, it appears they were basically bargain shopping on everything related to this well.

I understand the desire to minimize costs – I’m a businessman and I spend my days doing that very same thing. However, my decisions don’t put hundreds of people out on a burning platform in the middle of the ocean.

In 2005, BP had one of their refineries blow up. Internal documents showed that they did a cost analysis to see what would be more expensive – metal shelters that could protect employees in the even of a fire, or paying off families of dead employees. It turns out, they decided paying off families would be cheaper so they bought metal shelters that COULDN’T protect employees, and 18 people basically melted inside their bargain-basement blast shelters.

BP was cutting corners on their safety procedures, too, simply cutting and pasting them from one well to the next… as evidenced by the fact that their plans for the gulf rig included how to save walruses (which are in the arctic), and named an expert who had been dead for several years as the technical contact for a safety issue.

Again, business does this all the time… just read any business contingency plan and you’ll see what I mean. It’s all just boilerplate stuff that some crazed monk wrote 30 years ago and everyone Xerox’s so they won’t have to do actual work. In another business… for instance yearbook manufacturing… that doesn’t really matter. Worst case scenario in a yearbook manufacturing disaster is that some teenager won’t get their yearbook on time.

Worst case scenario in a deep sea drilling operation is what we’re seeing right now… gajillions of gallons of crude oil dumping into the Gulf of Mexico just in time for hurricane season. Now, I for one don’t feel sorry for Louisiana. Anyone who still lives there after Katrina is too stupid to be allowed to keep living. But Texas and Florida – that’s a damn shame.

The government’s handling of the situation has been ridiculous from the start. And frankly, I’m glad they haven’t tried to take over the operation. The government knows about as much about deep water drilling as I know about particle physics. However, it is absolutely retarded that the government has allowed BP to actually DO the work related to stopping the spill. It seems to me that trusting the bozos that started the problem to actually stop it is foolhardy.

Why didn’t the government force BP to contract Shell and Anadarko to come in and fix their mess. Shell and Anadarko have more experience in deep water drilling than BP, they have all the necessary equipment and personnel, and they DON’T have oil spills!

The oil dumping into the gulf really won’t affect me. I don’t like most seafood and I can live without shrimp. I don’t go to the beaches in those states, because California is 10 times nicer. I don’t have a dog in the hunt on this one.

Still, it seems like BP has given the entire industry a black eye, and that’s not fair to the safe operators out there.

Here’s an example for you. Say you work as a bartender. Across town, another bartender accidentally uses bleach in a bunch of drinks and kills a bunch of people, because he had taken all of the labels off of everything and got confused. Now say the government had a department of label inspection whose entire function was to make sure alcohol was properly labeled in bars. Now, say that the government response, instead of crushing the guy who took of his labels, decides to have a 6 month moratorium on serving alcohol in bars while they investigate.

Doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it?

  2 comments for “British Polluters

  1. June 17, 2010 at 11:18 am

    I don’t have anything smart to add (I write that a lot around here, don’t I?), although I will say that having lived for years in both California and Texas that the CA beaches aren’t all that, so instead I shall nod sagely in acknowledgement of your wisdom. 🙂

  2. June 20, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Isn’t it a sign of the current ideology of treating everyone “equally?” Instead of slapping the nit that caused a problem with a label, and forcing them to change the corporate identity to “Nit, INC” we just target everyone in that industry, related industries, and general geographic closeness. We don’t want to be “unfair” by any chance.

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