Although the BP oil disaster has killed 11 men, poisoned thousands of animals, and ruined the livelihoods of millions of Americans, Mississippi governor Haley Barbour (R-MS) still believes that the foreign oil giant has suffered the most. Gov. Barbour has dismissed this catastrophe from day one, comparing the toxic oil to “toothpaste” and worrying about the impact of paying damages on BP’s finances. In an interview with NPR on Thursday, Barbour brushed off the suggestion that the conservative ideology of deregulation should be reconsidered, saying that “the idea that more regulation is necessarily better, I think a very suspect idea.” In fact, Barbour cited the greatest environmental catastrophe in American history as proof that “the market system works,” saying that BP is the biggest victim “in this deal”:
I think right now every oil company in the world says, I don’t want to pay $100 million a day to cut corners on drilling a well. And that’s where I believe the market system works. Nobody’s got more to lose in this deal than BP.
Unlike BP — whose 2009 revenues were $239 billion — Barbour’s constituents face the loss of their jobs, health, and homes. Fortunately, Barbour’s insensitivity is not shared by other Mississippi politicians. “The Gulf oil spill is devastating to Mississippi jobs and our way of life,” Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) said Wednesday. “There are going to be long-term effects to be dealt with, that it is not just going to be oil on the beach today,” Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS) said Wednesday. “It is not just going to be this year’s shrimp, this year’s oyster crop.”Read more at the Wonk Room.