The Scandals behind the Gulf Leak

The oil spill is an ecological catastrophe of enormous gravity that has been troubling the administration and the president himself, as the handouts conceded to British Petroleum (BP) by government officials since the times of George W. Bush are becoming more well known. Philippe Boulet-Gercourt, the Nouvel Observateur correspondent to the U.S., writes, “The incestuous relations and the generalized corruption are not limited to just a few individuals or offices of the administration. There is a pipeline in Washington that releases its wealth daily: a wave of money that inundates the Congress. In the past decade the gas and petroleum lobby has poured $234 million into the safes of the Republican Party candidates.”* And the other issue is that “two of BP’s American refineries have accounted for 97 percent of the violations recorded by the refinery supervising agency in the past three years. The conclusion is that BP has a serious, systematic safety problem.”

This means that the oil spill was not a natural accident. It was the result of the greediness of a company that not only did not comply with regulations but also corrupted state employees and politicians into closing their eyes and not reporting the irregularities that were happening.

The contempt for nature is creating seriously bad living conditions, and those who will have to pay for this are the next generations. We have to react to these threats that are falling upon our planet because of human carelessness. Ecologists have been saying it loud and clear. But how can we do that when in Copenhagen, the two great powers America and China, decided to postpone and maybe even destroy the hopes of ecologists and even the European countries to fight the threats to our planet and consequently, to humanity. The material interests of the powerful, both private and public, are worth more than the human value of all continents. And in extreme cases, like the one of the black tide that reaches the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, the funds needed to restore the damage are always taken from the taxpayer.

To have an idea of the resources employed to avoid some of the consequences of the oil spill, it is worth noting that 1,000 people and 1,400 vessels are taking part in the oil extraction operation daily, 45 million barrels have already been extracted from the Gulf waters and 100,000 square kilometers in the area are forbidden to fishing at least for the time being.

Was this a case of crime or carelessness? Experts haven’t come to a conclusion yet. And not all of the consequences are known at this time. Hurricanes are predicted to last until November due to the unusually high water temperatures. Now the people of Louisiana are disgusted, as Katrina is still present in their memory. As for the destruction of biodiversity and rare species of the region, it seems that in some cases it is irreparable.

This is how things work in today’s world, a world governed by the neoliberal ideology that what counts is money — the ultimate value. Ethics is moved aside, it seems, from the management of the majority of the global financial institutions. Hence the global crisis that affects us.

*Translator’s Note: These quotes have been correctly translated from French.

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