What BP really wanted to tell Congress
#608 June 20, 2010
COLUMBUS: Congress grilled Tony Hayward. By the tone of their questions to the president of BP, some of them literally wanted to put him on one of those big rotisserie grills where you roast a pig. Those Congressmen wanted a piece of him, preferably well done.
Years ago, I would sometimes make up a narrative for a Weekly Article. Last week if BP’s Hayward had said what he was thinking instead of what the company lawyers told him to say, I think the Congressional hearing would have been more honest and educational.
Congressman: How long do you think you will keep your job?
BP: I’m not spending even one minute thinking about keeping my job. We’re working to cap the well and then clean up the Gulf. By the way, how much time do you spend raising money to keep your job?
Congressman: Didn’t you take unnecessary risks with drilling this well? I demand an answer, Yes or No.
BP: Yes. We were forced, unnecessarily, to drill in water a mile deep. That’s an unnecessary risk. We prefer drilling on land, or in shallow water. On federal land, this well would have been capped quickly, put into production, and we would already be writing checks to the U.S. Treasury. Big checks.
Congressman: Why weren’t you personally overseeing the drilling of that well?
BP: We have drilled hundreds of wells every year for years around the world. I can’t keep an eye on each one.
Congressman (interrupting): I have had hundreds of pork barrel projects in my District, and I always keep close tabs on each one.
BP: At BP we don’t have a "grand opening" when a well is completed, and I don’t show up for photos. My job is to run a company. I have to balance a budget. Last year we took in $20 Billion more than we spent. How did you fellows do with your budget?
Congressman: Do you have technical assistants here today?
BP: No, it’s just me. They’re all working to stop the leak. That’s our main concern.
Congressman: I’m most concerned about the small business people along the Gulf coast.
BP. I’m concerned about the small people, too. We’ll make payments to all the small people who are harmed economically by the spill. Now, your President has imposed a 6-month delay in all off-shore drilling. Who will pay the laid off workers, and small businesses harmed by this unnecessary decision?
Now, that would have been entertaining. The well may be putting out 100,000 barrels a day (worth, conservatively, $5 million/day) so you know Mr. Hayward wants to stop the leak even if he did take a day off to watch a yacht race.
This is Father’s Day, and also West Virginia Day. In 1863, after General Stonewall Jackson got killed at Chancellorsville in May, the western half of old Virginia gave up on the Confederacy and asked President Lincoln if they could split and join up with him. Lincoln agreed and signed the papers.
Ironically, 147 years later we’ve got a state already in the Union who asked the President for help, and instead he is going to sue them. Just another example of why, despite all our hopes and dreams, there may never be another Lincoln.
Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
"(You have heard) Lincoln's famous remark, "God must have loved the common people because he made so many of them." You are not going to get people's votes nowadays by calling them common. Lincoln might have said it but I bet you it was not until after he was elected." WA #84, July 20, 1924
(At the end of a tribute on Mother’s Day... ) "Father had a day, but you can't find anybody who remembers when it was. It's been so confused with April the first." Radio, May 12, 1935