Earlier today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is funded by dues-paying corporations like BP and Halliburton, hosted a “Free Enterprise” conference to push deregulation and anti-tax policies. During a press availability after the morning session, a reporter raised the point that the oil rig disaster, the Massey mine disaster, and the overall financial crisis seemed to have all occurred as a result of too much free enterprise and not enough regulations. Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), one of several governors in attendance, lashed out at the reporter and said regulations would not have prevented the economic collapse.
Later in his response, Perry said he feared a “knee-jerk reaction” to the oil spill, and said the oil spill could be just another “act of God that cannot be prevented”:
“We don’t know what the event that has allowed for this massive oil to be released,” Perry said alongside several other governors on a panel Monday. “And until we know that, I hope we don’t see a knee-jerk reaction across this country that says we’re going to shut down drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, because the cost to this country will be staggering.” Perry questioned whether the spill was “just an act of God that occurred” and said that any “politically driven” decisions could put the U.S. in further economic peril. “From time to time there are going to be things that occur that are acts of God that cannot be prevented,” Perry said.
As Climate Progress’ Joe Romm has noted, BP cut corners by violating numerous safety regulations and refused to install “a remote-control shutoff switch that two other major oil producers, Norway and Brazil, require.” In fact, the Chamber, which is one of BP’s many trade associations and lobbying fronts, has worked aggressively to oppose regulations and fight for more offshore oil drilling.
“Project No Project,” a lobbying initiative of the Chamber, fights environmental and safety regulations as job killing “red tape.” Project No Project has attacked environmental and safety concerns levied against BP’s proposed liquefied natural gas plant on Pelican Island, near Galveston, Texas.
Tony Hayward, the chief executive of BP, said to fellow executives in his London office recently, “What the hell did we do to deserve this?”
,Perry tried to walk back his comment, later saying that he suspects a “mechanical failure” was the cause.[upd