Archive for March 8th, 2012
Here comes the Bob:
“From the beginning, BP stepped up to meet our obligations to the communities in the Gulf Coast region, and we’ve worked hard to deliver on that commitment for nearly two years,” said Bob Dudley, BP’s CEO, in a statement issued Friday night. “The proposed settlement represents significant progress toward resolving issues from the Deepwater Horizon accident and contributing further to economic and environmental restoration efforts along the Gulf Coast.”
And collectively, four states threw up their hands in cheers.
Thank you’s, in unison, were heard echoing throughout Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida…and if one were to sit down by the Mississippi river, become very still, very quiet…right at dusk, that pristine moment where all is a finer shade of grey, not quite daytime and not yet the night, one could focus, listening, and maybe even hear a single brown pelican gliding above the silent, always flowing river as it opens its beak and calls: “Fuck you! Fuck you!”
And that would be right about the time I stood up from those steps heading down to said river, off the Moonwalk near Jackson Square, where I take another strong sip from the strong vodka-tonic I got walking from Flanagan’s Pub and say out loud, to nobody in particlar, “Jesus Christ, I don’t care how many times you BP guys in all your varying titles go on and on about how you are meeting your responsibilities to the Gulf…just cause you say it, and say it all the fucking time, this don’t make it true…”
So, did you hear the one about the fair and equitable settlement yet?
I’m sure you have, but if you haven’t, I’m sure Bob Dudley and any number of “Official BP Spokesperson”(s) would love to tell you all about it. They’d love you to believe quotes like Bob’s above too…but really, what they would love more than anything else is for you all, you know, to go away and let them get back to their business of record profits and record safety violations…after all, taking risks to make profit is what British petroleum does best…so…settled…settlement…everybody’s wealthy now…everybody’s happy…right right?
$7.8 billion dollars to individual claimants in the lawsuit…settled, we’re all good…right right?
Buy our stock and give us more drilling rights…yes?
Um…not so fast, Bob.
Sure, $7.8 billion dollars seems like a lot of money and all, like one big mea culpa, except that this money is coming from that $20 billion dollar escrow fund you already pledged over a year and a half ago, and as mentioned in this good Propublica article there be a number of problems with this, or at least some questions that need answering, such as:
The lawsuits were filed in Carl Barbier’s court mostly by people who felt they weren’t getting enough money from Feinberg’s GCCF, and now that the settlement will be paid from this same fund, which has only a little more than half left in it, how much are the plaintiffs going to receive, and what happens if that fund runs dry, $7.8 billion dollar estimate or not?
And for that mater, what happens to the people who were still working on claims with Feinberg?
And, tell me again, Bob, how is it fucking fair that people who sued because they were dissatisfied with this fund now wind up back in it, only this time with lawyers getting a percentage…and as for the new overseers of the disbursements, the one’s who are promising a new level of generosity…hmm, where did we hear that before?
Oh that’s right, Feinberg once said that when he took over the disbursements from BP, right before he pissed off everybody with all his “generous” offers.
Oh, and those lawyers from the PSC…
How influenced were they to settle with Bob and BP because of the big fat fees they were looking at? Really Bob? The PSC never took that into consideration their fees at all? You sure? The PSC was only serving the interests of their clients you say…uh-huh and the other attorney, Ken Feinberg was only being neutral…right? But hey, I’m sure these are all details…just more shit for lawyers to work out amongst themselves, locked in a room while the plaintiffs stand around outside wondering from which way they’re going to get screwed this time.
Yes screwed, because of this settlement… for example, the plaintiffs just lost their chance at punitive damages.
As Greg Palast writes in Truthout:
“I was stunned that there is no provision, as expected, for a punishment fee to by paid by BP for it’s willful negligence. In the Exxon Valdez trial, a jury awarded us $5 billion in punitives – and BP’s action, and the damage caused in the Gulf, is far, far worse. BP now has to pay no more than proven damages. It’s like telling a bank robber, “Hey, just put back the money in the vault and all’s forgiven.”
And what else did BP do, or didn’t do that very well could have entitled plaintiffs to punitive damages?
BP didn’t have emergency oil spill containment equipment at the ready as they so promised, in writing and under oath. And as a condition of drilling the Macondo Well, they were to have any oil from a blowout contained within five hours, but it took them five days just to get equipment in place. BP also mixed nitrogen into the cement which capped the well, something already proven to fail and yes, this saved them money, but it also contributed to the deaths of eleven men and this entire catastraphuk…
But hey! No punitive damages, because the Plaintiff Steering Committee settled with British Petroleum…and just like BP, the PSC only had the Gulf Coast’s interests in mind.
And now that we’re all settled, we should just go away now…go watch American Glee X Factor, starring the Voice…right right?
Hmm, but you know what else is details…
Tar balls are still coming into shore. Dolphins are still dying. Experts say we won’t know the extent of the damages for years to come.
And, as a result of this settlement, British Petroleum stocks rose three percent and it’s predicted to quickly rise another five percent more and with all this new profit, I just gotta ask, how much more money did that just make Tony Hayward? Or you, Bob…how much more money did that just make for you?
Was it more than some of the plaintiffs got?
Was it as much as the attorney fees the members of the Plaintiff Steering Committee are going to see as a result of this settlement?
Well…as you said Bob, from the beginning, BP has done all they can to step on up and meet your obligations. Yeah, but your obligations to who?
Answer me that…
Bob, you can go ahead and repeat your mantra about all the good you’ve done in the Gulf, ever since you did all that bad…go ahead, repeat it until there’s no one left to listen…fine. Knock yourself out. I’ll still be down by the river listening for the pelicans, listening to what they have to say and nodding my head in agreement: Fuck you.
Have a nice day.