BP Stands for Beyond Patience

By aaroncynic in News on May 25, 2010 7:30PM

Illinois senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) toured Louisiana yesterday with Louisiana senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter, along with some officials from the Obama administration to address the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Durbin remarked on BP’s handling of the spill, deemed by the White House as the worst in U.S. history, saying “In my mind, BP no longer stands for British Petroleum. It stands for Beyond Patience.” He went on to say that the Obama administration would pressure BP to clean up the spill and bear the cost.

Here in Chicago, the Reverend Jesse Jackson has called for a boycott of BP. At a Rainbow-PUSH rally held at a BP owned gas station yesterday in the South Loop, Jackson echoed Durbin’s remarks and told demonstrators that “to buy gas at BP is to subsidize their reckless behavior.”

While BP maintains they’re doing the best they can, The Daily Beast uncovered a memo that shows just how callous a corporate giant can be even in the face of a horrific disaster. A two page document prepared by risk managers in 2002 titled “Cost benefit analysis of three little pigs” shows the type of thinking BP put into risk assessment. The memo shows, in cartoonish fashion, that blast resistant trailers for BP’s workers weren’t necessary, because the cost was too high. In 2005, a refinery caught fire, killing 15 and injuring 170 people.

We can only hope BP’s next attempt at solving one of the Gulf’s worst ecological disasters in history will be more successful than their four other previous attempts, but we’re sadly more than a little skeptical. Given BP’s penchant for putting profits ahead of people, we’re left wondering what other corners might be cut. With tens, if not hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude spilling into the gulf each day, nearly a dozen people dead, we can only hope the administration takes an even harder stance towards the company. President Obama, who is hopefully aware of the concerns in our - and his - own backyard over BP’s attitude towards safety will fly from Chicago, where he'll be vacationing, to the Gulf Coast on Friday to assess the situation first-hand.