We Might All Eat a Little Bit of BP Oil For the Rest of Our Lives
BP ruined a small part of the entire Earth – Maybe not a lot but certainly a little. The Gulf Oil Spill was a debacle of unimaginable proportion. Because we don’t see it or feel it, we tend to ignore it. Because the news doesn’t play up all the scientific evidence we forget the extent of the assault on the environment. But that does not mean we are safe from their poison. We are all, at least those of us who like seafood, going to eat a little bit of BP oil for the rest of our lives. Children born today will die of cancer from their polluting the Earth. This is simply the cost of oil on our society.
But bringing this tragedy to justice will be impossible if the courts are manipulated to seal and destroy important evidence. Capitalism is our best bet to repair the economy – not only our economy but the world economy. I am a fiscal conservative and almost libertarian in my republican political leaning. But that does not include the right’s desire to stem personal injury litigation.
We republicans should not support the politicizing of the judiciary. The only way capitalism works is when we have a strong judicial branch and a rule of law that protects the “small people” (to use the BP President’s description of Americans).
Recently a New Orleans newspaper, the Times-Picayune (1/31) reported that BP is using the legal strategy of striking and covering up evidence to manipulate the upcoming trial. BP continues to file a stream of motions to cover up the facts of the case. The information they want to exclude is right on point with why they are liable for the damages they caused. Things like prior criminal problems with federal regulators, past failings in the areas of safety, including deadly explosions as far back as 1995 are asked to be excluded. We need the judge to be strong in forcing BP to prove the legal standard for excluding that evidence, which is that the evidence will cause serious competitive harm to the company.
BP is a multibillion dollar a day enterprise! They caused the worst oil tragedy in the history of the planet. Yet, they suffered only a minor setback in their sales and oil production worldwide. We still fill up at BP! The world still uses BP products. There is almost nothing “we” will do to hurt BP - even if we have an actual “fair trial,” and the jury fully punishes BP with huge damages.
Imaging the hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars that were spent by the tobacco industry to settle cigarette cases. Recognize the fact that tobacco is still in business, and their CEOs are still making millions of dollars in salary to run those companies. They paid gigantic sums, almost unthinkable sums, and they are fine. Now imagine that all that cigarette settlement money is play money when compared to the oil industry. No award will be big enough to hurt BP because the normal juror simply has not frame of reference to think up sums of money that can actually harm the company! We just can’t imagine a number that high given our relative daily lives. So, let the evidence come in, and let the jury hit BP as hard as possible. My bet is that BP will cry out loud, but behind our backs they will be smiling because they will pay that sum out of their petty cash fund. Then let’s see if at the end of this year, the Times-Picayune runs a story that says BP oil execs 2012 bonuses are as big as the verdict.