The amount of the devastation wreaked on the southeastern part of the United States is too great to fully comprehend at this time. However, BP has unleashed a chain of events unlike any other in the history of this country.
This is more than an industrial accident. This disaster is the result of a reckless, irresponsible pursuit of profits, without any real concern for the potential damage that might be caused. To put this into perspective, let us examine their recent profits. In the last quarter, BP earned $3 billion, which is about $33 million per day.
They have used their political and financial influence over our lawmakers and regulatory agencies, so that their maximum liability for any incident is limited to $75 million. So, their maximum liability for this, or any other disaster, is less than the profit that they earn every three days. In addition, they have spent several billion dollars in their successful public relations efforts to convince the public, that any governmental regulations are not needed. The best government they have told us repeatedly is a "Very small one that does not interfere with the private sector."
Therefore, they are legally protected from any harm that they might do. They, in effect, have carte blanche to do anything that they choose to do. They may not know how to stop this spill. But they do have the legal team and the experience to delay having to pay for their malfeasance. Potential settlements are likely to be held up in the legal system for up to 20 years or more.
Since any penalties that they would have to pay are so small, but compared to their profits, this gave them the license to disregard any regulations or procedures that they deemed unprofitable. The evidence that we have seen shows that this is what they actually did. This writer does not suggest that they wanted this spill to happen, but that it was not important enough in their corporate approach to spend even a tiny part of their profits to try to prevent it from occurring.
It was as if they were drilling for oil in a Third World Country that they controlled. If something went wrong, the natives might not be happy, but they would be powerless to do very much about it. Their main choices would be to protest, or to beg. If this spill is actually viewed for what it is, it is an attack on the United States. The perpetrators of this attack should be arrested and held in federal prison, where they could be made to assist in stopping this spill. The assets of British Petroleum should be frozen, and then used to pay for as much of the damage that has been caused as possible.
The executives of VP have already said that their company will willingly pay for all of the damage. However, that is empty rhetoric, since their legal team will fight tooth and nail to minimize any payments to anyone, except themselves. The citizens of this country have the responsibility of recognizing a war, especially when they are in it, and when they are losing.