Month 5, Day 27: A Pair of Hobnailed Doc Martens?

A good dkos piece outlining a variety of environmental/climate action items prompted this letter to the POTUS.

Dear President Obama — I’m glad to hear you’re going to “keep a boot on B.P.’s throat” until they take care of their responsibilities. That’s a big collection of responsibilities: they have to close the oil gusher, clean up the mess and pay the claims of those who suffered loss. Why am I doubtful that British Petroleum will follow through?

Look at B.P.’s record. They evaded regulatory oversight and took advantage of the Bush-engendered culture of corruption at the Minerals Management Service. They ignored safety procedures at the Deepwater Horizon site. After the accident, they held rig workers incommunicado for many hours and forced to sign nondisclosure agreements before being released. They steadily underestimated the flow of oil from the leak on the ocean floor, and refused to allow specialists to measure the flow more accurately — a position which will make it easier for them to evade paying their full share of disaster costs. Their CEO, Tony Hayward, has cynically stated that “it’s a big ocean,” and the environmental impact will be “minimal.” They used unprecedented quantities of highly toxic dispersant chemicals, and simply ignored instructions from the EPA. Their drilling disaster is well on track to destroy huge sections of the Gulf of Mexico, and may well contaminate other ocean areas as well.

You’re going to need a pretty big boot. These are not good people. These people are liars and criminals, and there needs to be more than cosmetic action taken against them. Accountability for the Deepwater Horizon disaster must include substantial economic damages, debarment, criminal prosecution, and civil fines under the Clean Water Act. The management of British Petroleum, as well as that of TransOcean and Halliburton, must be compelled to testify under oath both in court and in Congress.

And, ultimately, we need to put British Petroleum out of business. Not just because they’re avaricious, sleazy, conscienceless environmental criminals, but because we need to put all the oil companies out of business. It is obvious to anyone who’s paying attention that all of these companies reward antisocial behavior — behavior that is now putting the entire planetary ecosystem at risk.

The time is now, Mr. President. Address the nation, and make it clear that all of us will have to work hard and contribute to the common good — and that our survival depends on finding alternatives to fossil fuels.

The Deepwater Horizon is just one of countless examples which illuminate why we can no longer afford oil and coal’s so-called “cheap energy.” It’s time for us to start learning and stop burning.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders

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