Who should pay for the oil spill?

Given some of the tensions right now over who will wind up paying for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, how about we look for a creative solution?

I understand that in the World Cup matches today, the first World Cup on the African continent, by they way, USA and England will duke it out.

I think the winner should pay for the spill.  

Yes?  No?

Actually, I hear that BP is already the financial backing for a large number of pensions in the UK.

It looks as if people in the UK are going to get hit by this spill no matter who wins today’s match.

How very irksome this all is.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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39 Responses to Who should pay for the oil spill?

  1. Thomas G. says:

    My sense is that, with the fall of BP stock, the British are already paying for the spill.

  2. TJerome says:

    the environmental lobby in the US. We got Exxon Valdez and the Gulf. compliments of their looney restrictions and rules. Off shore drilling in Europe hasn’t been an issue because the environmental lobby there hasn’t succeeded with their looney rules.

  3. JonM says:

    @Thomas,

    BP has been ‘fined’ an absolutely paltry amount of a few billion, but as far as I know hasn’t settled that yet. Given the catastrophe for the Gulf coast’s ecology and critical industries, if there were justice BP would be completely busted and the pieces of the company sold to defray the cleanup costs and economic recovery, which could take a decade or more.

    It has transpired that BP flooded Obama with contributions and even gave his Chief of Staff, Rahm Emannuel, a free apartment.

    BP is a heavy contributor to the mainstream environmentalist groups like Nature Conservancy, giving this group a whopping $10 million recently.

    The evidence strongly indicates that BP executives were totally negligent and driven by blind greed. The men operating the drilling equipment were furious, telling their higher ups that the pressure readings were way too dangerous. But BP ordered them to continue anyway.

    Now, there are 11 families without support and an uncontrollable leak.

    BP and the Obama administration have lied about this magnitude of this disaster from the beginning, possibly by a factor of 100. Rumors are becoming plausible reports that there is a massive second leak miles from the pipe leak.; this new one is suggested to be a rip in the seabed.

    While we don’t know, the Deepwater platform tapped what some believe is an oil field that surpasses Ghawar (for perspective, this Saudi field has been producing a million barrels a day for decades.)

    Meanwhile, the Republicans are using this as a political issue, along with the mind blowing accusation that a political candidate was offered a job to throw his support to someone (yes, Federal law might seem to say something, but if you were to actually enforce it in this manner, you would have to arrest every Congressman, Senator, and almost every one of their paid staff.)

    Bobby Jindal, who I had respect for, fell in my eyes because he did not just ignore the stupid federal government rule about building berms. If he were leadership caliber, he would have proceeded to do this himself.

    It is now coming out that our country is refusing help from every country that pledged it, including experts from Holland who have special marine equipment that no other country (including us) has.

    This is not a ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’ or ‘environmentalist vs. hair-on-the-chest manly man’ situation. It is possibly a cataclysm. I have been warning family and friends that a chastisement was coming; the round of eathquakes, the shutdown of European air traffic, and now the potential near extinction of life in much of the Gulf of Mexico.

    The world has chased God out of their lives which American culture the epidome of moral bankruptcy. As Archbishop Sheen stated, America is not so-much intolerant as it tolerates anything. Sure, we can have an SSPX congregation – and satanists in the military. Passion of the Christ can be shown in theaters – and satanic occultism can be marketed to children.

    Mary warned us at Fatima, at Akita, and at so many other places that we had to seriously reform ourselves. Well, with America in a state of near economic collapse, it appears to me that 2011 is going to only get far worse.

  4. Jack Hughes says:

    I would like to point out that it would be stupid for Obama to inflict massive fines on BP

    1) BP is as much American as British, it employees mroe Americans than Brits, the number of American Directors is the same as the number of British Directors. So to call it British Petroluem (it hasn’t been known by that title for 2 decades)is just stupid.

    2)to my knowledge (having read the Telegraph) it was Halliburton and another American company who were responsable for the faulty drill bit that caused the explosian, but then again it wouldn’t be politically good for Obama to attack an American company

    3) BP are doing all they can to stop the leak, its not like Bopal where you yanks just ducked your responsabilities.

    4) Your president makes the guy who tried to blow himself up on Christmas day look competent

    5) only slightly related to this is the fact that earlier this year I came to see stupidity of stock markets, the vanity of money and endless chasing after worldly things, hence my hope to enter the Religious Life next year (the earliest people will take me is Aug 2011- boy does 14 months sound like a long time).

  5. shane says:

    Jack, as I understand, and someone please correct me if I’m wrong, companies in the US are legally liable for the faults of their contractors.

    Making BP pay for this mess would probably bankrupt them and it’s true as Fr Z says that BP is crucial to UK pension investments. Still, bailing them out would set a terrible precedent and send out a message to other companies that they, like BP, can take corners to save money, empowering them to act irresponsibly, in the knowledge that taxpayers will pick up the tab anyway because they’re ‘too big to fail’.

  6. catholicmidwest says:

    Financially, NOT US.

    Politically, Zero-bama.

  7. JonM says:

    Jack all due respect, but BP is absolutely not doing ‘all that it can’ to stop the leak(s) and neither is the US government.

    A Russian expert stated that the strategy of trying one idea at a time is absurd; all resources have to be pured into this situation in order to try to at least staunch the flow.

    I find it risable that this is becoming a nationalistic scenario of British feeling they are being slurred by yanks. BP is a multinational corporation, like Haliburton, and has no country but Mammon’s.

    That pensions ride on the success of BP is not really material to the case; last I checked, American pensioners were not compensated when airlines were allowed to tap them in order to keep on a-trucking. Besides, the Federal Reserve a mere two weeks ago wrote a $1 trillion check to the EU for paper. Central banks are lending themselves copious amounts of capital, so it is a small feat to publicly assist pensioners if needed.

    I am speculating here, but pension assets are typically shielded from liability suits anyway.

    Also, as much as the current administration is to fault, this policy of letting Big Business get away with murder has been long in the works. As usual, Republican Regulars are embarrassing themselves by defending BP, a corporation that has a rich history of saftey violations, serious accidents, and spent an enormous amount of cash on branding itself a solar power company when in fact is was as ever a ‘dirty oil giant.’

    Like most things, the solution is not in the Congress or Parliament. I restrict my energy usage significantly. NB: I am totally opposed to the carbon cap and trade bill (aka Goldman Sacks wealth transfer) and have written at length at how absurd the ‘global warming/climate change’ CO2 myth is.

  8. robtbrown says:

    1. I don’t know about the liaibility, but I would guess that overall liability would be with BP rather than sub contractors (who could then be sued by BP).

    2. I think that no fines should be imposed. I do think, however, that BP not only is liable to clean up the spill but also for consequent economic damage to survivors and businesses, e.g., fishing, resorts, etc.

    3. Agree that Obama is not Mr Competence–he has no managerial experience. Although it’s up to BP to stop the leak, Obamaco should have moved immediately to mobilize every possible means to start the cleanup.

    4. Any liability of Union Carbide in the Bhopal Disaster should have been settled in the Indian Courts.

    5. The other night Dick Morris said that in the mid 90′s there was legislation that encouraged deep water oil extraction by waiving the 16% fed tax. With no tax money involved the feds took little interest in the drilling standards.

  9. robtbrown says:

    I am speculating here, but pension assets are typically shielded from liability suits anyway.

    The reference was probably to pension funds that own BP stock.

    Also, as much as the current administration is to fault, this policy of letting Big Business get away with murder has been long in the works. As usual, Republican Regulars are embarrassing themselves by defending BP, a corporation that has a rich history of saftey violations, serious accidents, and spent an enormous amount of cash on branding itself a solar power company when in fact is was as ever a ‘dirty oil giant.’
    Comment by JonM

    Simply put, energy production has negative side effects, even wind power.

  10. tzard says:

    Do we really expect to be compensated due to acts of God? Even acts of man, nothing can compensate at times – or is this just about money? I’m sure the Government is interested in that – they want a windfall from fines.

    But in past centuries, people just picked up the pieces and moved on. The lived, reared children, and died and received the their final reward.

    Bad things happen – and money is seldom the real answer.

    And I’m wondering if this “who will pay” attitude, and even action will do more harm than good.

  11. We have the army, air force, navy, coast guard, and we still haven’t cleaned up the mess yet? The “pres” needs to stop whining and get the people on this to clean it up, and THEN foot bp with the bill

  12. joecct77 says:

    Father

    Have YOU made a wager with Father Tim??

  13. TJerome says:

    jonm, it is a liberal vs conservative issue. The environmental lobby has run rough shod over the American people and business for 40 years with its crazy notions of where pipelines can be built (direct casualty of this was Exxon Valdez) and demanding that oil rigs be placed far out into the ocean making maintenance very very difficult (direct casualty of this was the gulf. I suspect,however, their time is running out. Ordinary people are getting sick of their doctrinaire approach to everything.

    Obama would have sent his goons to Louisianna and arrested Jindahl if he had done what you are suggesting. Have you missed the entire Arizona/immigration law debacle?

    If Obama were a Republican the environmental lobby, the New York Slimes, etc., would be in high dungeon over the federal government’s lack of response and fingering everyone but themeselves.

  14. wmeyer says:

    With all due respect to all here, there are a number of critical issues which can’t be dismissed. First, no one responsible to stop the leak or to execute cleanup has ever faced a leak of this magnitude. Second, the libs screaming for BP’s money are overlooking the massive side effects of the possible collapse of that company, effects which will be felt both here and in Europe.

    Our strutting president is clueless. His administration, likewise. Adm. Allen is, I have no doubt, doing all that he can be expected to do, with both hands tied behind his back. The administration will, as by its nature it must, bleat great platitudes and threats, and eventually prove itself totally incapable — again.

    We must all pray for many things here. Pray for the lives lost in the explosion, for those who have lost their livelihood, for those who are laboring every day to find and apply a solution, and for those who inflame us each day with their empty rhetoric. And finally, pray for God’s grace, which we will all need, as this continues.

  15. AnAmericanMother says:

    I spent 15+ years in industrial accident investigation and litigation, representing excess and surplus lines insurers who are on the hook after self-insurance and primary coverage is exhausted. In other words, the big bad ones. Never worked on a well blowout, but did a lot of fires, chemical spills, explosions, etc.

    The administration has not only been clueless/helpless, they have actively harmed the cleanup efforts. They had a plan in place and supposedly pre-approved, but wouldn’t or couldn’t pull the trigger. They refused to give the go-ahead to Louisiana to put berms in place and build barricades to try to catch the oil before it got into the marsh, and they actually declined offers of aid from the Netherlands and several other countries with cleanup expertise and equipment ready to go.

    The crisis management team that I used to work with from a local insurance adjuster could have done a better job than this! If you don’t have the expertise in-house, you pick up the phone. And you call BP’s CEO right off the bat and say, “Tell us what you need.” You sure as heck don’t talk about criminal prosecution and “kicking @$$” until after you have the problem under control. Fear is not a good motivator in situations like this, especially fear of the clueless but powerful who hate you anyhow.

    I refuse to believe that (as some claim) Obama is actually trying to turn this into a worse disaster so that he can nationalize the oil companies. I think what’s going on is “analysis paralysis” — inexperienced president and his inexperienced staffers are so wrapped up in interminable meetings and so worried about placating environmental extremists that they wind up talking for weeks and months and not doing anything.

    They have belatedly accepted the offer of help from the Netherlands, by the way.

  16. AnAmericanMother says:

    The question of responsibility for subcontractors’ work is going to be a knotty little legal problem. It will probably involve considerable litigation.

    Ordinarily, the acts and omissions of an employee are the responsibility of his employer – “respondeat superior” is the term of art. But a subcontractor is not automatically subject to this rule. The general test is whether the employer controls the “time, manner, and method” of the subcontractor’s performance of the work, or simply requires a result.

    An additional wrinkle here is that Federal law will probably apply, since the well is outside state waters.

    That will probably be less of a mess than trying to decipher Louisiana law, which is based on the Code Napoleon and is different from all other U.S. law. I once had to litigate a coverage issue on a warehouse fire in Monroe, Louisiana, in Federal court there. Craziest law I have ever had to deal with, we got ‘er done though.

  17. robtbrown says:

    AnAmericanMother,

    Interesting stuff. Thanks.

    My guess is that it’s a combination of two things:

    1. Obamaco seriously underestimated the seriousness and thought that doing nothing would further their energy bill.

    2. Obama has zip in managerial experience and doesn’t have a clue how to move an organization. He is the opposite of Clinton, who was a crisis manager.

  18. And in the case of a draw?

  19. JonM says:

    @Rob,

    Great point. I missed it the first go around, so thanks for pointing that out.

    But it doesn’t really change the end result. If BP was criminally negligent, its assets will be used to compensate those affected by the disaster. This is only fair and is a critical aspect of contract law and free markets.

    But what of the people who are heavily invested in BP and have tied their savings to this one company?

    Again, the Fed just wrote a $1 trillion check to the EU overnight. If the central bank powers can help themselves, national government can most certainly (and ought to) help individuals directly who through no fault of their own become destitute.

    I do have to add here that there are important lessons. BP should not have forced the Trans Ocean workers, against the worker wishes, to continue with the operation that led this explosion. Man is not God. Man is Man only, something our humanist society likes to forget. Further, people should to the best of their ability divest from these multinational companies, or at least diversify with more traditional stores of wealth (silver coins.)

    @ TJ, I doubt that Obama would have been able to attempt to arrest Jindal if he went ahead and ordered the LA Guard to build berms. And if he did, he would have saved us a long campaign season by personally electing the Louisiana governor.

    I want to add that public statements by major companies are heavily researched, teased out, and produced by PR firms. To many of them, there is no objective truth but only what appears to be. So of course the BP chief would say ‘tell us what you need, we’re there!’ but actually be holding back.

    What we know is that the federal government and BP intentionally misrepresented the amount of petroleum leaking. We know now that many respected figures in the industry suspect the well casing is damaged or destroyed; BP officials who will not give their names have stated the former is at least the case.

    Now, even if it were the fault of Greenies for making rigs go beyond the horizon so when we go to the beach the ocean does not look like Barad-Dur, that is not the issue now. (NB: BP wanted that particular deep water territory because the deposits there are suggested to rival Saudi’s Ghadwar.)

    The issue is that there is the greatest environmental disaster possibly even in American history. The response is either poorly executed or there is simply no plan for this situation. Morally, BP was responsible to come up with one before riveting one bolt in the now sunk rig; it is up to authorities to cull the best minds around the world and not refuse assistance from other countries (as it has) in order to fix the problem.

    If the GOP produced a plan of action (e.g., put together a multi-company consortium to drill relief wells, lease super tankers to suck up some of the oil, and assemble an armada of small craft for skimming), then I would have some respect for the party to which I am a member. Whining and moaning and simply blaming Obama is childish and the mirror image of the other side that blamed George Bush personally for Hurricane Katrina.

  20. JonM says:

    All

    Matt Simmons pointed something out of the Dylan Ratigan show: the 100+ mile oil lake has to get sucked up by tankers or else any hurricane will ‘pant the Gulf region black’ and lead to a massive economic shutdown.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBL_MUGtWds&feature=player_embedded

  21. Supertradmum says:

    The oil spill disaster is a combination of willful negligence for the sake of profit. We are all to blame, as we are all in love with our cars and refuse to look at alternative modes of transportation, as well as alternative fuels for heat. I do not think anyone wants BP to go bankrupt, as the ripples of that would affect millions of American as well as Brits who are connected in some way with the company, either directly or indirectly.

    The government is legally responsible owing to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. The government has consistently underfunded research and controls which could have prevented this disaster.

    The need for a complete energy overhaul is long overdue. We have only ourselves to blame because of our own greed and desires for false independence regarding transportation.

    having said all of this, Obama is not a leader and those who voted for him because he seemed more objective have to deal with his separation from reality regarding this oil spill and other problems.

  22. AnAmericanMother says:

    Supertradmum,

    Unfortunately you can’t mandate a “complete energy overhaul”. The economy would take a tremendous hit, because all the alternatives are so very much more expensive and inefficient. The government doesn’t have enough money to force people into fuels that are more expensive, less available, and don’t work as well. The individual or family can make a decision to become more efficient, but coercing or bribing people into it isn’t going to work.

    I’ve had some adventures in wind power and solar power because of some friends living on a remote island in the Caribbean. My dad (a former Combat Engineer and world champion tinkerer) was helping them with their generator system. I got to hand him tools and learn a few new cuss words. Unfortunately voltage conversion and storage are expensive and inefficient – and if dad can’t get something to work right it can’t be done.

    My personal opinion is that the way to go is to reduce the need for energy by building smaller and more efficient homes. We built an architect-designed passive (i.e. no huge panels on the roof) solar house back in 1981 – it was 850 square feet, earth-bermed, with a huge heat sink. The south wall was glass, shaded for the latitude so that no direct sun entered the house in summer, the north wall was taken up with closets, insulated entryways, and utilities and had no windows at all – only 2 windows to the east and 1 small porthole to the west. Our heating and cooling bills were almost nonexistent.

    A sudden influx of babies meant that we had to move to a larger and more conventional house. We hate it, especially when the heating and cooling bills come in!

  23. AnAmericanMother says:

    JonM,

    You doubt that Obama would be able to arrest Jindal?

    He and his AG are already threatening indictments. It may well be just bluster and trash talk — but would you be willing to bet your freedom on it?

    The problem is that this administration is crazy enough to actually indict Jindal for violating federal law if he moved without permission. They have demonstrated repeatedly that they have no respect for law or procedure (dropping the voter intimidation case out of PA and illegally firing an Inspector General are just two examples off the top of my head.) The watchdogs in the media have been asleep because they are cheerleading for the administration, so abuses that ordinarily would draw a lot of very negative press are hardly mentioned. Combine that with perfect willingness to abuse the system to damage political enemies, and you have a dangerous situation.

    All Obama has to do to arrest Jindal is get an ambitious prosecutor, a compliant federal grand jury and some magistrate willing to issue a warrant. Ordinarily common sense, respect for law, and propriety would prevent this, as well as the press, but there’s really very little to stop a person with no conscience from ruining an innocent person via the criminal law.

    It would probably eventually be quashed, but the downside for Jindal would be dreadful.

    I can’t blame him for hesitating.

  24. JonM says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Jindal. He’s a pretty consistant conservative, much smarter than the typical politician, and he’s a Catholic.

    In my view, it was a mistake to let the Feds indimidate him. Yes, he could have been threatened with criminal punishments (unlikely) and loss of money/support for the state (very, very likely.)

    I understand given this latter concern, it is not so simple a decision. However, given the severity of the rupture, this is in my view a time to do what is manifestly right and suffer the consequences for doing what is right and required of him to defend his people.

    The key here is that there has to be real action; not photo ops by BP showing white sand beaches with 100 workers picking up seaweed.

    Berms fortified with hay are a must for the coastline, especially the marshes are needed and if the states refuse to act, LA parishes should do what they can. But that is only the surface.

    From the reports I have read, Top Kill was a complete disaster and ruptured (possibly even destroyed) the well. This is why BP abruptly ended the procedure. It has transpired that there is a second leak that is probably much more significant than the primary leak we are seeing footage of.

    With true leakage around 100,000-150,000 barrels per day, we are looking at a marine life catastrophe. One hurricane will shut down the Gulf Coast. This is no longer an American problem; the Bahamas will be affected to some large degree. Further, the pressures we are talking about are enormous (40k-50k psi.)

    Drilling relief wells will take months to complete and this will not resolve the problem of this second leak. We in the public just don’t know yet how severe the sub-floor rock formation leaking is.

    Our idiot vice-President is really getting down to business by attending the World Cup. In every way, this guy is an abject scandal to us and should have been Becketed long ago.

    But just being mad at BP or the Feds is not a solution.

    So, here is my action plan:

    We need an immediate and emergency effort to deal with this. We have a LOT of unemployed men who will love to build giant containers for the petroleum sucked out.

    Further, all supercarriers have to be commandeered (foreign ones begged and leased) to do nothing but suck up the oil in the Gulf to be pumped out into containment.

    In the meanwhile, we need to use the SPR and possibly accept gas rationing due to the lack of tanker traffic which would be diverted to sucking up the oil.

    Pray for forgiveness.

  25. Leonius says:

    I question I am asking is what where the American people doing allowing a non-American company to come into their country and take their oil and the profits that go with that oil.

    After its people a countries natural resources are its second most valuable asset, to allow those assets to enrich foreign economies to the detriment of the economy of the nation they are located in is criminal.

    Are there no American oil companies that were capable of extracting this oil?

  26. Jack Hughes says:

    @leonius

    BP employed roughly 14,000 american workers, paying the relavent taxes, healthcare insurance etc etc, its not as if they were holding a gun to the head of the federal bank

    Also what business then do American Oil companies have drilling in non-US countries? I guess Texeco should stop operating Natural Gas Terminals in Wales (part of the UK, Walmart should sell Asda ( a British hypermarket that it owns). Also as I stated earlier BP is more American than British

  27. Supertradmum says:

    BP owns Amoco. This is normal to have overseas oil companies working in other countries. Look at Shell, which is a Dutch company. We are a half-British family and I think that blaming the Brits is a bit naive. The oil companies were one of the first groups to go global.

    As I understand from recent online news and posts, America owes 40% of BP.

    AmericanMother, I love your answer and agree with it. I have always wanted a “green home” or an “earthship” house, but our family can only afford to rent.

    I have tried to find one solely American oil company and have not found one.

    The anti-British campaign is a smoke-screen to push blame off on the “foreign” company, which is hardly that at all.

  28. Supertradmum says:

    AnAmericanMother,

    I meant your comment on using less and living more simply…

  29. Supertradmum says:

    http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/theanchoress/2010/06/05/obama-knew-spill-scope-from-day-1/

    The Anchoress has a good conversation on this point, with some good comments as well.

  30. Supertradmum says:

    AnAmericanMom,

    Can you clarify something for me? In some of the newspapers, the government is being tried for not accepting responsibility as per the 1990 Oil Pollution Act. With your experience, can you share whether these type of statements are true as far as litigation is concerned, and that the ultimate responsibility is the federal government? Thanks.

  31. AnAmericanMother says:

    Supertradmum,

    I do very little Federal practice, and just from glancing over the Act it’s the usual garbled mess that Federal law tends to be. Also, without reading the C.F.R. (Code of Federal Regulations) that goes along with it, you can’t really nail down the scope of responsibility. An awful lot of law is made in the C.F.R.s.

    It appears from a quick scan that the Feds did take charge with a system of response plans and requirements that incident reporting and response plans go through the EPA or the Coast Guard. An interesting provision is that an affected party can sue a federal official who fails to act . . . . don’t know how that would work out.

  32. Leonius says:

    “BP employed roughly 14,000 american workers, paying the relavent taxes, healthcare insurance etc etc, its not as if they were holding a gun to the head of the federal bank”

    And still made plenty of profit for its foreign shareholders from American oil, profits that could have been used to make the US economy stronger. An American Oil company could have employed the same amount of workers paid the same amount of taxes etc and kept all the profits in the US economy. Or are BP “drilling the oil” that Americans “won’t drill”, just like it is claimed immigrants do the jobs that Americans won’t do? Can BP really drill for oil better than any American company? Judging by this disaster I guess not.

    “Also what business then do American Oil companies have drilling in non-US countries?”

    Just because most of the countries in the world sell their natural resources to foreign owned companies and that American companies take advantage of that fact does not mean America has to do the same with its natural resources.

    “As I understand from recent online news and posts, America owes 40% of BP.”

    It would be better if America owned 100% of the companies granted the rights to extract the natural resources which belong to the entire nation and so received 100% of the profits from its oil production don’t you think?

    The Chinese understand this basic principle and they will outgrow the US economy because of it, they invited the West in, learned all they had to teach them and now they are in the process of shutting foreign companies out of the Chinese economy because they recognise it is in the national interest to do so, to keep the leakage of wealth from their country to a minimum while maximising the accumulation of other nations wealth abroad.

  33. Jack Hughes says:

    @Leonius

    look who’s a protectionist, if thats how you feel then lobby the government, however I think that congress realises that slamming your closest ally isn’t exactly a smart move when half the world hates your guts, If BP can drill better (the faulty drill bit WAS MADE BY an American company)then why shouldn’t they be able to buy drilling rights from the American government? If you advocate protectionism for US companies then eventually over countries will stop allowing American Companies to operate abroad. its called globalization – I may not like it but its here to stay.

    BTW from your blog it seems like your a fellow Brit ?, unless you’re an American Expat living in the UK

  34. Peter from Jersey says:

    JonM
    About pension funds: investments in BP form an important part of many pension portfolios so the loss in value to the portfolio will reduce the value of any pension paid. Thus ordinary people, who may not be aware of their interest in BP, will lose from this. However upset one is at the management of a business it is worth appreciating that the investors are not responsible for the failings of management. Vindictive punishment of the company is thus unwarranted.

    Do you have information that BP forced TransOcean to operate in an unsafe way? Surely TransOcean should have refused to carry out such instructions if issued? It seems too early to attach blame to individual companies. Indeed one should ask if the regulators had done their job well: part of the blame may, in fact if not in law, lie with regulatory failure.

    You are surely right to suggest that the first role of the government should have been to offer assistance to deal with the problem and not to risk distracting management.

    May I draw a parallel? A small number of priests abused children. The financial penalties on dioceses have been great and it is the contributions made by the innocent that have thus been lost. This harms the good work of the church and other potential beneficiaries. So any penalty creates new problems.

  35. JonM says:

    @ Peter

    Totally, totally different situations that cannot be compared at all.

    A relatively few Priests molested children and sexually abused adolescents (NB these are evil stains no matter how few) but these acts were done by individuals. There was no top-down pressure to do these things.

    About stocks, again if savings are wiped out there can be public assistance. For the third time, the Fed wrote a check for $1 trillion to the EU bankers. If people have savings wiped out, there is a means to assist the destitute through national government.

    As for BP acting wrecklessly and evidence…Yes.

    The fact that these corrupt, money grupping corporatists drilled a [choose your adjective] super deepwell under 5000ft of ocean alone on the edge of a shelf.

    A rig operator was refusing to go ahead, but BP’s head honchos wanted this well tapped. They have set record after record, tapped bonana after bonanza. They felt invincible.

    By the way, since when did a private company boss around civil authorities? I guess in a post-modern Mammonist nightmare society, Big Business owned by the Queen of England does.

    Brothers, you are not understanding how serious this situation is. This is WAY past Republican, Democrat, Palin, Obama, and seaguls. This is even past BP, its assets, and seizing them.

    The emissions of carcinogens, according to EPA tests, are off the charts. There is a reason why media not allowed to talk to anyone; this is the most serious environmental catastrophe ever.

    The well casing is broken; oil is leaking into the rock formation and there is possibly a second leak miles away. Still, the pressures are not declining at the well-head. That doesn’t make any sense unless BP hit strata.

    In my opinion, the government is attempting to drill (at an angle) and use a (some) nuclear device(s) to close this thing. Nothing else can plug this. We are talking about pressures that cannot be dealt with by current technology – except nuclear weapons.

    But, and this is a big but, this is a gamble. A nuclear detonation could destroy rock formations and cause the absolute worst of the worst. I won’t elaborate here, but there is a good guide for this that we know of.

    This is something that we need to be praying for daily.

  36. JonM says:

    Jack, Pete, other British….

    This has nothing at all to do with nationality. If this was Exxon I would be saying the same thing.

  37. Peter from Jersey says:

    Dear JohnM
    Than you.
    I do not think that you said anything anti-British and so there is nothing to excuse.
    It seems that the liability of BP arises as it is the licence holder for the well. It is less clear, and does not seem to have been the subject of much discussion, the extent to which the disaster is the fault of each of the companies concerned and how much it has been compounded by bad luck. Your suggestion that managers may have encouraged operators to cut corners is believable but does not seem to have been examined in the media.
    The comparison I made to clerical abuse is that the penalties imposed on the institutions will have hindered their good work so causing others to suffer. Similarly many innocent investors, such as pensioners and charities, will suffer any penalty imposed on the company. Given the importance of the BP in the investment indexes nearly all investors and savers will be directly or indirectly concerned.
    I suspect that any loan from the US central bank to its European opposite numbers was made with the aim of ensuring economic stability which benefits people on all sides. Sadly there remain large imbalances such as the huge amounts lent by China and other countries to the US that will need to be addressed.
    Cheers
    Peter

  38. catholicmidwest says:

    I don’t blame Bobby Jindal for being careful around this administration. I like him and I’d like to vote for him for national office.

  39. catholicmidwest says:

    BTW, Bobby Jindal ordered those berms built today. Everyone knows Zero-bama is doing nothing but running his mouth about BP. Somebody has to do something for the people of Louisiana.