Wednesday, June 16, 2010

biting the hand that feeds me... or used to feed me

In the interest of full journalistic disclosure, for the past three years, Andrew has received a small scholarship from BP through the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara. (Why, you ask? First, he's an awesome student, and second, massive oil company interested in kids who speak Arabic? Not really a shocker if you ask me.) This year, a new donor stepped in, so maybe that reduces my conflict of interest.

Anyway, you may have heard that BP execs met with President Obama today and settled on a deal where the company will set aside a $20 billion claims fund to satisfy legitimate claims or damages from clean up entities or individuals. Sounds like a lot of money until you average the total net income for BP's last four years... basically, BP makes $20 billion a year. That's income, not revenue.

I haven't figured out how I feel about this just yet. I do believe in companies taking responsibility for damages. I'm not too sure how I feel about a government commission administering it... sounds like more bureaucracy but heaven knows the MMS can't really be trusted to do it. Also, am I ok with a company just having to do cleanup costs, basically losing a year of income, or should they have to cover additional costs, like the loss of livelihood for a region and longer term issues? I have the sneaking suspicion that fancy lawyers will get most of that and not the actual people who need it.

All my laissez-faire pipe dreams are exploding. Pun intended.

In other, less contentious news, I have TWO baby squash in my garden.


Taylor said...

hold on a minute. Do I understand right? Are you considering the unites states oil business laissez-faire? Drilling for oil in the US has got to be the most regulated energy industry there is with the possible exception of nuclear. If all those regulations couldn't keep the oil from bursting doesn't that mean that regulation might not be the answer? I certainly don't see how oil drilling is free from state intervention.

One good argument against oil drilling is that had shallow water drilling not been outlawed by government regulations then this whole BP spill would be much much easier to plug. What if Anwar up in our arctic wildlife refuge were open?

this guy ( takes a pretty middle of the road approach to the debate.

michelle m said...

Not calling oil industry laissez-faire. Just stating how in general, I tend towards a "hands off" kind of belief structure.

BTW, I will think on demotivators.