I thought the comment that reader Elizabeth Fullerton sent in response to a little status thing I posted on my Facebook page (“Tony “Backwards Pedaller” Hayward: Your conscience called. It hates you.”) was worth posting here. In response to my Hayward gibe, Elizabeth wrote:
I can’t send links from my phone, but there is a great article at the Center for Public Integrity, dated May 16. [That article is here.] The article reports that BP was cited for 97% of the OSHA violations from the entire industry. And these are not nuisance fines, either. For context, serious violations (which is the third level down, after “willfully egregious” and “egregious”) consist of conditions resulting in a PROBABILITY of death or serious injury.
Regardless of political viewpoint, this proves that BP committed manslaughter. They were aware of the risks, and decided that American lives were worth less than their bottom line. In an American courtroom, that is called depraved indifference.
The oil spill was no simple accident. It points to a corrupt corporate culture, and a complete systemic failure. The only way to fix it is to start at the top. Guilty of direct responsibility or not, this time the baby should go out with the bath water.
The posturing of the BP CEO and COO is even more infuriating because it is so half-hearted. I’ve worked on Wall Street, as well as for UBS, Goldman Sachs, and Citibank, among others. I know they lie. For that kind of money, though, one really expects better acting. It’s as if Hayward thinks so little of the U.S. government and public that he can’t even be bothered to put on a decent performance.