Month 6, Day 2: I Hope They Grind Exceeding Small

The Attorney General is going to the Gulf. String ’em high, Mr. Holder, string ’em high!

Dear Attorney General Holder,

I’m glad to learn that you’re looking into a possible criminal investigation of British Petroleum and the other companies which are partnered in the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon rig.  As you and your staff begin your investigation, please keep in mind that BP may reasonably be suspected of not acting in the public interest — something President Obama said last week.  To be sure, we need the company to continue mitigating the environmental damage it has caused, but it is terribly naive to think that this will be their primary concern.  BP’s principal focus will be on maximizing return to its shareholders and protecting its management — and these goals (while inherent in the capitalist system) emphatically do not serve the public in a time of crisis.

BP has been limiting media access to the devastation it has caused, making it more difficult for press and broadcast media to get a clear picture of the destruction of the Gulf Coast.  Furthermore, there are ample reasons to suspect the company of the possible manipulation and destruction of physical evidence. Their  response to the disaster has been conditioned by the requirements of public relations from the very beginning, and you should expect that they will continue to try to “game the system” as your investigation continues.

While no formal statement of guilt is possible from your office until the wheels of justice have turned, you and your staff need to keep in mind that British Petroleum has displayed criminal irresponsibility toward the needs of environmental protection for years.  Do not trust these people; they are not America’s friends.

The fact that BP continues to control clean-up efforts and mitigation processes is tainted by the likelihood that they have been attempting to limit the visible damage, thereby reducing the likelihood of significant penalties.

Because BP has practical authority over the people of the Coast who are involved in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, they can now intimidate witnesses and workers, conceal damage, and stall investigations.  As long as the company is considered essential by the government, there is a strong likelihood that your investigation will be forced to compromise.  This cannot be allowed to happen.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders