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May 20, 2010

In my opinion, BP should be held liable for all the damage done by its spill….with absolutely no financial cap.   Further, Hayward should have a personal tab to pay, as should all of the BP directors.

It seems to me, that with those remote robots on the ocean floor, the broken pipe could have been crimped and tons of materials and sealant could have been dumped on the spot relatively quickly.  But then, BP would not have been able to suck up any of the oil from the pipe.

But no.   Probably because drilling at that depth is so expensive – it seems to me that BP looks like it has been trying to capture some of the oil for processing  –  for revenue purposes -rather than stopping the leak and capping the environmental damage.

BP CEO projects that “the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to have been very, very modest.”  With that attitude, why would he seek to stop the leak at all costs as soon as possible, and mitigate the effects in the least toxic, most effective way possible.  BP has been less than forthcoming about sharing videos or other flow meters that would enable a more accurate estimate of the leak; and those that have been released have been used by scientists to estimate a leak many times greater than what BP estimates.  I would believe the scientists over BP public pronouncements.

Any of the good works, positive PR achieved by Hayward’s predessor has been completely undone and will probably remain so for a very long time.

Further, Climate Progress has documented that BP not only chose more toxic dispersants to disperse the oil, but also dispersants that in tests are not as effective with this type of oil as other dispersants that are also less toxic.  Some of the formulations of the Nalco dispersants are banned in Britain, and they are very toxic to soft corals, which are under siege anyway.  The “good stuff” is probably more expensive, and not made by former Exxon and BP colleagues at Nalco (  It is not known what the long term effects will be on the seafood industry – or on those who eat future seafood caught in the Gulf.

Thank goodness – especially given the quantities that are being used – the EPA has stepped in and informed BP officials that the company has 24 hours to choose a less toxic form of dispersant, and must apply the new form of dispersants within 72 hours of submitting the list of alternatives.  I hope there was a also cease and desist order on the use of the current dispersant.

What are the lessons from this?   For the government:  a critical need for more effective governmental regulations and greater distance between leasing and inspection/regulatory arms, more planning for worst case scenarios and more appropriate (to the risk) liability provisions.  For the dispersants, testing on quantity and higher standards for items to be on the list of approved dispersants, along  with a tightening of regulations regarding use and acceptable toxicity.

BP has greater challenges.  Where is their Board?  So much for any pretension for corporate responsibility.  Clearly – in my opinion – they have a CEO and a culture that is arrogant, reckless and insensitive to environmental issues, totally focused on their bottom line.  Further, their policies for assessing risks, having ready emergency response capabilities, and response plans truly created to mitigate – as much as possible – environmental impacts need major revision or perhaps initial development.

With this apparent attitude, BP should forfeit any “benefits of the doubt” that have ever been extended to them by permitting agencies in all endeavors.  They have more than proven – in my opinion – that they do not deserve any quarter.  They have shown none for the environment.  Their bottom line should suffer greatly and for a very long time.

BP has major re-invention work to do if it wants to be truly considered a socially responsible corporation.

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