As a teenager, my sisters used to enjoy exploiting my temper to get me in trouble, pushing my buttons until I did something stupid and wound up grounded. I fell for it all the time. I think it was their secret game but I’ve never been able to prove it. One day when our parents were out, my younger sister and I argued about taking out the garbage and I became so angry, I decided to scare her so she would leave me alone – so in a typical teenage ill-advised move, I punched the pantry door in the kitchen. Problem is, the pantry door was a hollow door and I put my fist through it. Oops, and of course my sister immediately ran for the phone to tell my parents what I had done. My father came home, I got grounded and he charged me fifty dollars for a new door.
He never bought the door though, instead opting to take my mother out to dinner with the money. When they moved ten years later, the broken door still had not been replaced. Didn’t need to. He just hung a picture over the hole so it looked good as new.
Six months later, the Obama administration and British Petroleum are hanging pictures all over the Gulf.
They are doing it with words, press releases and commercials.
They are doing it with meaningless promises.
They are doing it, waiting for everyone to stop paying attention so they don’t have to do it anymore.
In the same week that Bob Dudley announced his new plan of giving bonuses tied to safety at British Petroleum, it was noted by the Wall Street Journal that those who were in charge of company operations leading up to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon are those who remain in charge today.
Lamar McKay, the chairman and president of BP America, remains in place. James Dupree, the man directly responsible for “safe and compliant operations” in the Gulf of Mexico, has suffered just a cosmetic change in his job title. Doug Suttles, one of the public faces of BP’s oil spill response, is no longer in his previous role as chief operating officer of BP’s now defunct Exploration and Production unit, but it seems likely to take up another role in the company.
It would seem that to keep the old guard in place, not only makes it difficult to institute a radical change in policy, but also sends a message down the company line that this new change in policy is not being taken as seriously as it needs to be. Three huge accidents in recent BP history, costing lives, cultures and still as yet undetermined destruction and the only people to get fired are people like Tony Hayward who maintains he didn’t even know there was a problem. What about the people who did?
Meanwhile, despite what the government would have you believe the oil is still everywhere, yet BP continues to lay off clean-up workers. These same workers are starting to give up on certain beaches because they don’t have the personnel and British Petroleum is getting away with it, still holding to that promise of making things right.
They’re only hanging pictures.
They’re holding the nail while the Obama Administration hammers it home.
Remember back in August when the administration put out that whole 74% of the oil gone scenario which was roundly mocked. As Stuart Smith points out, they’ve never really backed away from it. For every finding of oil on the seafloor, question about air safety, seafood and water safety, Jane Lubchenco reassures us all that everything is fine:
“Each reopening (of fishing areas) is a reassuring sign that areas once impacted by oil can again support sustainable fishing activities,” said NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco, “Tourists and consumers should know most Gulf waters are open for fishing and seafood from these waters is safe to eat.”
The problem of course is Jane appears to be one of the few people who actually believe such statements. Independent scientists continue to doubt her and the government’s claims, instead finding dispersants and oil in the water still, and harboring serious questions about the long term effects of heavy metals which are making their presence known in the Gulf and even in the rainwater. A scientist at the University of Georgia, Dr. Samantha Joye recently compared the sea floor to a “graveyard,” stating that of the 78 core samples taken, only five had life where typically all 78 of the sea floor samples should; obviously this is a problem and one the NOAA isn’t addressing or commenting upon.
This is not over, six months later…we’re just beginning and those that should be helping are only hanging pictures on the wall. Although British Petroleum and the Obama Administration make quite a team, each policy change from BP is only another picture. Each statement from Jane? Just another picture. Each commercial during the Sunday football game, or every time the NOAA re-opens more water despite not testing for dispersants or heavy metals… picture after picture after picture, and at this rate, it would seem they’ll keep hanging pictures until the accumulation of nail holes destroys the wall for good.
This has gotta stop.
Keep talking, keep writing, keep pressing…it would appear it is up to the independent scientists, the people of the Gulf Coast and the rest of this country who cares about the reality in the water to keep shouting for the truth, to ignore these pictures they’ve placed in the foreground.
Shit, when I was a teenager at least I got grounded. In the Gulf of Mexico and in this country today, it would seem they just hope we forget about it.
Many of us don’t see this as an option.
Have a nice day.