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oil spill

What I Need From BP

I haven’t written about the BP oil disaster, because it makes me cry.

I’m not saying that to be funny, cheeky or dramatic. When I think of the environmental disaster that BP has unleashed on our oceans, I start to cry. I can’t help it.

I have a love affair with the ocean. I was in my late 30’s when Jean-Michel and his amazing team from Ocean Futures Society took me underwater for the first time. That’s right, I was a beach kid. I was raised with surf and sand, but I’d never really looked at the world under the waves.

I am in love with the ocean. My children are in love with the ocean.

My children snorkel and dive into the kelp forests that surround Catalina Island, and chase schools of Garibaldi while shark families wiggle inches below us. My husband and I race to shine lights on giant lobster during night dives, and we delight in the Bluebanded Goby during the day.

My experience is that looking underwater changes the way you see the world. It changes the way we consume, how much we are willing to waste, and what we dispose of.

The oceans do not belong to man. The most we can hope for is a short invitation to visit. It is not our home.

So when I see this terrible excuse for an apology I am livid. Since BP has set YouTube up in a manner that does not allow me to embed their video on this site, I’ll go ahead and transcribe it here for you. Tony Hayward’s content is in bold, my comments are in italics:

The gulf spill is a tragedy that never should have happened. This is the sentence that comes closest to truth. This is NOT a spill. A spill is when a tanker tips over. This is a geyser undersea. This is a dramatic amount of oil that was meant to be underground.

I’m Tony Hayword. BP has taken full responsibility for cleaning up the spill in the gulf. This is patently untrue. BP has taken limited responsibility. In May they tried to blame it on the rig operator.

We’ve help organize the largest environmental response in this country’s history. Yes, you are responsible for the largest disasters in our country’s history. Remember the explosions in Texas City in 2005? Remember the spill in Alaska in 2006. I wonder why America hasn’t banned BP from it’s borders?

More than 2 million feet of boom, 30 planes, and over 1,300 boats are working to protect the shoreline. Note that the oceans are not worth protecting, only the shoreline. Why? Well, there are no news cameras in the middle of the ocean. Yet. Do not mistake BP for a company that cares one whit about the planet.

When oil reaches the shore, thousands of people are ready to clean it up. What is BP going to do when they are ill? They will be ill. Also, by the time the oil reaches the shore IT IS TOO LATE. The damage is done.

We will honor all legitimate claims and our cleanup efforts will not come at any cost to taxpayers. Bullshit. It already has. People are losing their businesses and their homes. This reduces the tax base. We lost financially already. When BP Executives file personal bankruptcy (as opposed to the moral bankruptcy they already claim) then I’ll know that I, the American taxpayer, is not footing the bill.

For those affected and your families, I’m deeply sorry. Even my eight year old knows that sometimes sorry isn’t enough. Sorry doesn’t fix things.

The gulf is home to thousands of BP employees and we all feel the impact. I don’t care about your employees until you start caring about my children’s future. They will find new jobs, perhaps in the green sector.

To all the volunteers and the strong support of the government, thank you. I thought you had this under control. You shouldn’t need help from government agencies, or were you going to reimburse us taxpayers for the valuable time you used?

We know it is our responsibility to keep you informed and do everything we can so this never happens again. If BP wasn’t allowed on American Soil or in American waters this probably wouldn’t happen again… here.

We will get this done. We will make this right. No, you won’t. You can’t. Not in this lifetime.

If you want to see what the oil looks like (remember that like an iceberg, you’re only seeing a tiny bit of it) take a look at this set on Flickr.