Those of us who live along the Gulf Coast have been shocked by the callous disregard for safety, worker’s lives and destruction of our environment exhibited by BP in Texas and Louisiana. In March, 2005, 15 workers lost their lives in an unnecessary explosion at the BP refinery in Texas City. Just recently, 11 workers were thrown off a BP oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and are presumed dead.
The oil rig continues to leak oil into the Gulf and threatens to destroy the coastal environment of Louisiana just as the area is beginning to recover from the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina. Some say the disaster may eclipse the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Investigations into the 2005 explosion indicated that BP decided it was cheaper to pay the possible fines than to follow OSHA safety guidelines. As a result, 15 workers died and many more had preceded them in previous years.
It is clear that the damages inflicted on the Gulf Coast by these two incidents are inestimable and the people of the area will suffer for many years to come. Some say the economic impact of the disaster on Louisiana will be catastrophic.
It is this writer’s opinion that our government should seize all the assets of BP in this country and put this capital to work to rebuild and restore the communities damaged by this gigantic multinational corporation.
If the refineries and oil rigs were owned by our government, adequate safety standards could be maintained so that worker’s lives could be saved. Instead of the profits being neatly stowed away in some large banks, they could be used to clean up the mess, compensate workers and their families and provide funds for research into green energy sources. The money could also be used to build state of the art levees such as they have in Europe to protect New Orleans from the next major Hurricane. Texas City is unbelievably polluted and money could be spent to clean up the environment there and make the area more livable for the many residents.
The U.S. military is assisting this foreign company in cleaning up the mess they have made in our backyard. The question facing our nation is, “Who is going to pay the bill?” Will it be the working people of this country? Will it be the villains responsible for this catastrophe? People of the Gulf Coast need answers to these questions now.