Month 6, Day 21: Lies and Lying Liars…

Well, this one pretty much wrote itself. BP’s British stockholders are claiming the company misrepresented its safety record to them, thereby artificially inflating the value of its stock (well, duh!)….and they are threatening legal action. IIRC, this is the first time I’ve written to a UK newspaper. It’s a little long, but it has a classical allusion and some rather archly constructed sentences. I forgot to change the spelling of “behavior” before I sent it off. Ah, well.

It comes as no surprise that British Petroleum is accused of misleading its stockholders by misrepresenting its safety record. We already know that BP misrepresented its safety record to the U.S. Government and to the general public. Why should the company’s own investors be treated any differently? Looking at the behavior of oil companies in general (and BP in particular) it is increasingly evident that oil is dirty in more than the physical sense. It appears to engender both corporate and individual behaviour that could accurately be described as sociopathic. BP’s malfeasance is only the most recent and grotesque example; a few moments’ search turns up an appalling roster of inexcusable acts committed by major oil companies, often in parts of the world with inadequate legal and logistical mechanisms for dealing with the consequences of environmental criminality. Even if climate change were not a Damoclean sword over our heads, the unique combination of malignity and incompetence that has characterized Big Oil’s collective actions over the past half a century should be a more than adequate reason for us all to end our dependence on fossil fuels. Why give money to a rude, destructive, irresponsible boor?

Warren Senders

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