A couple of weeks ago, Janet Napolitano head of homeland security, told reporters that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could turn out to be a really big environmental disaster. The key word here being, “could!” Now as dead dolphins, fish and birds begin to ooze up on the shores of the gulf coast and an oil slick the size of Rhode Island begins to slowly drift to shore, one has to wonder; has “could” finally become, “is!”
Quietly passing other spills as the worst in history, this disaster is quickly becoming yet another symbol of what can go wrong, when government steps aside and lets corporations police and be the ones in charge of safety issues regarding what they do. It appears as if the companies and the government truly all believed their own PR, as to how safe all of this was. You have all heard the PR spill, I am sure; we will use the best available technology, and you the public have nothing to worry about! What you should be hearing them say is, “We really have, good insurance, don’t worry about it!”
Using risk management thinking, companies balance how much they will make, versus the cost of what could go wrong and what it would cost to fix the damage. Be it automobile safety, the airlines, or the food we eat if insurance can pay for the damages, no product really has to be that safe all the time. Besides, given the fact any PR campaign can make even the smartest of users look pretty dumb, don’t look for sympathy from the public if you are hurt by product or environmental mishap caused by negligence on any corporations part!
For sure, the scenario of what could happen in the Gulf atop a mile long straw sucking oil was bantered back and forth by those who do such big oil exploration projects. Yet, in a world where Oil companies’ make billions of dollars one has to wonder how tainted their thinking was given the fact that nothing of this magnitude had ever happened before. In a reality where all that could go wrong did, the excuse that we hadn’t anticipated that, seems pretty lame, but in their world one perfectly acceptable!
In one of the best Curly, Larry and Moe impersonations I’ve seen in a while the Oil company, the Gasket company and the Driller all pointed fingers at each other before Congress last week over Congressional hearings on the debacle. While taking no particular blame British Petroleum said they would pay all legitimate claims. Good luck, filling that paper work out. But then again, who sees a class action suit for the fish coming here? After all if they can have a class action suit for everyone that ever owned a lawnmower, than surely they can file one on behalf of the fish!
TV”S talking heads are still saying that we need this kind drilling to continue. I vote for sending everyone of them to live on the gulf shore. To loose as well their six figure incomes supported by Oily advertising and to be sentenced to sixty hours per week on clean up crews for the next year. Then let’s see what they think about these types of accidents. Regardless, of how much insurance these companies have, I doubt for a long time to come any of you will be vacationing in the, Gulf of Oil of Mexico!