I Buy My Gas at BP

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Yeah, you read it right.  Sure, BP’s CEO skipped the class on “Public Relations - Disaster Recovery 101.”   And, apparently, someone on the rig made a very bad decision against the advice of BP Logo others.  And the Gulf is a mess.

That said, I don’t know of anyone who would suggest that BP 1) wanted to pollute the Gulf or 2) was/is not self-motivated to stop the leakage.

I’m not saying that BP therefore is without guilt.  But I am convinced that despite all the finger wagging, no one in our government has any clue about oil drilling, and they left everything (from oil exploration to well closure, and, yes, cleanup…) to an industry that suffers from technological arrogance.  I’m not saying that the government needs to be experts in every type of business, but there is a difference between having authority and actual working knowledge.

It’s also clear that the government hasn’t helped.  Aside from inspectors who didn’t do their jobs, there are ample media reports (Here’s one) that our government is very slow to respond, even in a post-Bush, post-Katrina era of governmental responsibility to make everything better for all. 

According to the US Coast Guard, of the 107 offers Washington has received from 44 nations, only a small number have been accepted and the vast majority is being reviewed under a lengthy process.
A recent report by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) suggested that a Dutch aid offer to provide four oil skimmers took seven weeks to be approved.

The skimmers could process more than 6 million gallons of oily water every day.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs on Thursday scorned the idea that "somehow it took the command 70 days to accept international help."
"That is a myth," he declared, "that has been debunked literally hundreds of times."

Saying it’s so doesn’t make it so.  Google offers no “debunking” details other than his statement. Any journalists out there want to actually investigate a claim rather than parrot it? 

I absolutely hate the current anti-corporate attitude in America, and elsewhere.  Small businesses generally want to become bigger businesses, and if they succeed, they can get very large.  All (legitimate) businesses should be a source of American pride, not derision. 

Corporations are too frequently portrayed as self-serving, evil entities that exist to enrich their Sr. Management.  Any operational failure appears to be yet another case of why Capitalism is bad for you and me.  Sorry, but it’s the best system for promoting efficiency, competition, and a societal motivation to work.  Corporate (government and non-profit, for that matter) malfeasance has everything to do with human shortcomings, not the nature of their business structures or size.

You can argue executive pay all you want, but the fact is that BP has over 80,000 employees, 79,900+ of whom did absolutely nothing wrong.  Yet, they’ve seen their stock value fall (and about half of their employee savings plan), and it’s likely that those fortunate to remain in their chosen careers will do so working for another (evil) corporation.

Sure, I’m biased.  I work for a corporation of around 30,000 employees, and in the wake of Enron, AIG, and others, I hope and pray that our Sr. Leadership is minding our business as they should, just as everyone should who works for my company, or yours.

I’m not suggesting that BP should not be held responsible for the Deepwater explosion (and don’t forget the 11 fatalities amidst the daily environmental updates).  If certain individuals deserve prosecution because of gross errors, I hope there is sufficient evidence to proceed.

But I’m not going to boycott BP.  I shop there to support the little guy – the convenience store clerk, the store owner who unluckily sells BP products, the local oil jobbers, the oil service contractors in the Gulf, the 79,900+ unfortunate corporate Joes, and even the retired folks (or anyone else) who invested in BP stock. 

It’s very easy to forget that a corporation is technically a a legal entity constructed for accounting and taxation purposes, but people, like you and me, are at its core.

Disclaimer:  My opinions are also not affected by conveniently located BP stations which, at present, have pumps available with no waiting.

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