BIG OIL TURNS AGAINST ONE OF ITS OWN

The brotherhood gathered at the table, vowing fealty to the cause and to each other. “One for all and all for one,” they pledged – except for “that one,” pointing to BP’s man at the end of the table.

The brotherhood gathered at the table, vowing fealty to the cause and to each other. “One for all and all for one,” they pledged – except for “that one,” pointing to BP’s man at the end of the table.

These were the barons of Big Oil, gathered at the witness table for a hearing by the House energy committee investigating BP’s disastrous deepwater oil well. Arrayed before the committee were five aging white guys in dark suits – top executives of BP, Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron and ConocoPhillips. Usually, the industry stands unified, forming a fortress against all critics of its arrogance and avarice. But this day, the brotherhood tossed BP to the howling wolves of public outrage.

Enjoying Hightower? How about a weekly email that gives you the full scoop?

“We would not have drilled the well the way they did,” sniffed Exxon’s man. “Not all of the standards… that we would employ were in place,” said Chevron’s man dismissively. “It’s not a well that we would have drilled,” Shell’s man asserted smugly, washing his hands of BP’s failure.

But, had it been their well that erupted in the Gulf, how would the four detractors have responded? Uh… um… ahem… uh, well… exactly the same as BP. All five of the barons had submitted almost exactly the same disaster response plan to federal regulators. That would be the 582-page “plan” that reads like it was written as a comedy skit for Stephen Colbert’s show.

Under it, no birds or turtles would be harmed, no beaches or marshes soiled, and no water quality seriously compromised. The farcical document promises that walruses, sea otters and sea lions would not suffer – which, technically, is true, since these mammals do not live anywhere near the Gulf!

Big Oil’s other barons can run from BP, but they can’t hide from the reality that all of their offshore rigs are disasters waiting to happen.

“Oil Executives Break Ranks In Testimony,” The New York Times, June 16, 2010.

“BP’s plans for spills littered with mistakes, analysis finds,” Austin American Statesman, June 10, 2010.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

Never miss a word from Hightower– sign up today:

Send this to a friend