Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (right)
“No one has more to loose on this well than BP.” That was Mississippi governor Haley Barbour’s parting comment on an NPR segment that I just happened to hear on June 29th. This was jaw dropping, but alas, disturbingly typical and uncritical. There couldn’t be a more perverse logic than portraying BP as the victim in the colossal disaster of its own making. Then to shift the blame to the Coast Guard because, according to Barbour, they were unprepared to clean up is just the zenith of arrogance.
Yes, lets ride the fossil fuel free blast to the bitter (and inevitable) end. Lets ignore the potential for disaster (precautionary principle man, this is not a “leak”…this thing is gushing! Count the months!). Lets pretend that “technology” can plug a gushing hole in the Gulf then defund agencies that we will later assail when the disaster happens (gonna need a scape goat!). Lets complete the delusion by pretending the actual guilty company is the victim. Of course this narrative is all too familiar in our national energy discourse. Unfettered so-called “market rule” trumps people and planet. Don’t believe for a minute that “cheap energy”
is actually cheap.
BP’s financial losses, however large, pale in comparison to the loss of (a) culture, (b) livelihoods, (c) a vast ecosystem, and (d) ultimately the biosphere. For fishermen, net makers, shrimpers and folks making their living from the land, the losses are real. For BP it’s only money and a corporate “person” doesn’t feel pain or sorrow. Unfortunately nor does BP feel a sense of responsibility and accountability. And for the corporate apologists who claim the oil jobs trump all else… killing things (like people, places, living creatures, and ecosystems) has no worth in a moral, sustainable economy.
Time to reorient our energy mind set now.