Since the disastrous Gulf Coast oil spill, BP and the other companies responsible for the tragedy have been beefing up their lobbying and public relations efforts. Today, the oil giant has full-page ads in the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today defending its response to the oil spill. From the ad:
Since the tragic accident on the Transcocean Deepwater Horizon rig first occurred, we have been committed to doing everything possible to stop the flow of oil at the seabed, collect the oil on the surface and keep it away from the shore.
BP has taken full responsibility for dealing with the spill. We are determined to do everything we can to minimize any impact. We will honor all legitimate claims.
BP’s ads come as a new poll finds that 76 percent of the American public disapproves of how the company is handling the spill. And BP is not taking “full responsibility” for the spill. In fact, officials have repeatedly tried to downplay the disaster and argued that attempts to accurately measure the rate of flow at the seabed are impossible and unnecessary:
— Tony Haywood, BP CEO: “I think the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to be very, very modest. It is impossible to say and we will mount, as part of the aftermath, a very detailed environmental assessment as we go forward.” [5/18/10]
— Haywood: “The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.” [5/14/10]
— Lamar McKay, President of BP America: “The volume estimates are based effectively on surface expression, because you can’t measure what’s coming out at the seabed.” [Senate testimony, 5/12/10]
— Tom Mueller, BP: “We’re not going to take any extra efforts now to calculate flow there at this point. It’s not relevant to the response effort, and it might even detract from the response effort.” [5/14/10]
— Doug Suttles, BP COO, Global Exploration: “Since the beginning, we’ve said it’s almost impossible to get a precise number. But ourselves and people from NOAA and others believe that something around 5,000 — it’s actually barrels a day — is the best estimate.” [ABC News, 5/14/10]
In Boston Globe op-ed today, columnist Derrick Z. Jackson hits BP for its ads:
It is difficult to conceive of a more resounding insult to our intelligence than BP’s full-page advertisements in the New York Times and USA Today about its response to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The most intriguing paragraph of the BP ad was, “This is an enormous team effort. More than 2,500 of our operational and technical personnel from around the world are working tirelessly in coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard, and federal, state and local government agencies.’’
But until Deepwater Horizon exploded, BP’s idea of working tirelessly with government agencies was lobbying them to bypass environmental-impact reviews for well permits. Yesterday, the Times had yet another story on how drilling projects have proceeded with environmental waivers, despite President Obama’s so-called moratorium on permits. Deepwater Horizon received an environmental waiver last year and received another one just before the April explosion.