Last night during an interview with BP executive Bob Dudley on Fox News, host Greta Van Susteren noted that the oil giant has been taking some heat because of its Gulf oil spill. “Your company has taken quite a beating,” she said. Dudley agreed but said his company’s critics should be careful because Gulf coast residents are dependent on BP:
DUDLEY: Well, Greta, I know that oil companies are not popular. It has been that way for sometime in the U.S. It’s a company made up of people, many of which live along the Gulf coast, that are integrated into the fabric of the communities there.
We have 23,000 people in the U.S., many of which are around the Gulf coast. I think — and everyone is devastated by what has happened today. I think I would look at some of the process today as just making sure that through that sentiment we don’t actually shoot the dog who is trying to bring home the bone and meet its obligations all across the Gulf, and we are going to be there a long time.
Unfortunately, some lawmakers and the conservative media argue that the Obama administration is being too harsh and have come to BP’s defense with similar arguments. Oil money beneficiary Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) recently expressed concern that BP’s financial liabilities as a result of the spill would cut into its profits and therefore somehow prevent it from meeting those liabilities.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) deflected attacks on BP last week saying that the Gulf region needs BP now more than ever:
“First of all, the last company that people in the Gulf want to see go bankrupt is BP because we’re depending on them to clean up our environment and make our people whole,” Lousiana Sen. Mary Landrieu told “Good Morning America” today in an exclusive interview. “One of the more important issues… [is] half of our families make their living fishing, the other half of our families make their living in the Gulf drilling for oil and gas that this country desperately needs.”
Dependency on Big Oil is exactly the reason the Gulf faces the situation it is currently in. While sustaining BP’s viability is in both the company’s and the public’s interest, long term reliance on dirty fossil fuels like BP’s main commodity is not sustainable.