In this week’s New York Times, BP proudly spent a small fortune to advertise the fact that it is going to once again be a major drilling organization in the Gulf of Mexico. The ad, available online here, also proudly boasted the recent resolution with the U.S. government that allows them to enter the drilling bidding process again.
I am sure many of you had the same thought I did, “Is this an April Fools’ joke?” If so, you got us, BP! Why else would BP tout these developments when it is once again dealing with an environmental disaster, this time in Lake Michigan? (See today’s column from The Kansas City Star – Steve Paul: Oil spills should give Americans pause.)
Most companies would be too ashamed to purchase an ad like this so soon after causing this type of destruction, much less when reports are still coming out—almost four years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster—that fish embryos exposed to oil from the 2010 oil spill still develop deformities.
But why would BP play such a cruel joke on the people of the Gulf? They will not rest easy tonight knowing BP is back at work drilling deep water wells in the Gulf. Unfortunately, observing the developments of this recent disaster in the Lake Michigan, it is evident that corporate culture has not changed at BP. It is a scary thought to think BP is back at the helm in the Gulf.
A more responsible approach would be to specifically talk to the people of the Gulf, in an ad that they are likely to see, addressing what safety assurances have been implemented to do this drilling safely.
Since the Deepwater Horizon disaster four years ago this month, BP has been “April Fooling” us that they are actually going to take responsibility for their actions. But, I’m not one for jokes, especially when it comes to lives, the environment and all the pain the Gulf has endured due to BP’s carelessness.
Editor’s Note: The above is an opinion piece by attorney Joe Rice, chief architect of the BP Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Class Action Settlement.