Gov. Jesse Ventura again to investigation the BP Oil Spill and the plot to reign in the Gulf Coast economy.
But who is BP anyway?
BP is the third largest oil company and the fourth largest company in the world, and is also the largest company in the United Kingdom. BP is also a so-called a “supermajor” oil exploration company, which means that they do everything from oil exploration, natural gas production, to other activities. The company started looking for oil in Iran in 1901 and recently has been working to develop oil fields in Russia. Such a large company with such a long history must certainly have connections at all levels of government. Perhaps that is how these large oil companies have been basically allowed to police themselves in the United States.
BP has contributed more than $5 million since 1990 to political campaigns in the United States, making the company the 100th largest campaign donor, and 72% of the contributions went to Republican candidates.
The Obama administration has placed a lot of faith in BP, although the company is increasingly being attacked in public by politicians. The government is assuming that BP is going to work to clean up the spill and will pay damages associated with the spill. Unfortunately, how BP goes about these tasks may be guided more by addressing their PR problem than doing what is right for people living in the coastal areas affected by the spill.
CNN recently reported a case involving a fishermen who, along with seven others working on the cleanup, began to experience dizziness and faintness. The fishermen reported smelling intense oil like vapors during the time they became ill. One had difficult breathing during the night, and was diagnosed as having “respiratory problems” by a doctor. A month later the fisherman’s wife reports that he is still not in his normal healthy state.
Many fishermen, who were out of work due to the spill, are reluctant to complain to BP out of fear of losing a job in hard economic times. BP at the beginning of the crisis had forced fishermen hired for cleanup activities to sign contracts promising not to file a lawsuit against BP. BP’s chief executive believes that food poisoning may have caused their problem. And BP won’t provide masks as they believe the air quality is good. BP is also being accused of not allowing workers to wear their own masks. Yet another instance of BP putting public image above doing what is right.