We can’t trust the Oil Companies. Surprise, surprise. BP has lied to us throughout the current crisis and before. The other Oil Companies according to Congressional Testimony today have spill response plans that are not only remarkably similar, but discuss Walruses in the Gulf and provide contact information for consultants who are long dead. They have demonstrated themselves to be completely untrustworthy. Their credibility is in the toilet.
So what can they do:
- They need to provide, within 30 days, independent and substantive response plans incorporating the information currently available and committing to revise them every six months as more information about damage, and risk becomes available. They should be fined say $50 million a day for missing the deadline. The plans should eliminate dead consultants and Walruses.
- They should within the next 30 days provide a collectively funded and independently managed cleanup response fund to which they all contribute and which is substantial (say $10 billion) and which is intended fund any catastrophic spill cleanup and also continuously conducts independent research into spill response and prevention. The fund should be independently operated under regulations set by the EPA.
- They each need to commission and conduct independent safety audits within the next 30 days on all their US properties, the results of which will be provided to the government and the public (via a website) and commit to implementing any recommendations under government oversight.
- BP needs to set up the much talked about escrow account that should be at least $20 billion.
- BP needs to pay all claims. BP needs to accept and engage all volunteers with expertise in both cleanup and wildlife rescue. BP needs to turn the locals loose and stop putting extremely bureaucratic controls on the cleanup effort.
- BP and Transocean need to pay the 11 families of the victims of the explosion, with no strings (but not admitting fault or liability, cause their lawyers wouldn’t want that, but similarly without requiring a release from the families) not less than $1 million per family. Just because its the right thing to do.
All this could happen relatively quickly. It won’t. But it would go a long way toward restoring some measure of faith.