BP Can’t Get It Right (Even If They Wanted To)


Look, with all the testimony and reports and official statements, the human element of this oil spill can sometimes escape media attention. But there’s a Washington Post story out that makes a human connection while illustrating how unlikely it is that BP will live up to its much-advertised promise to “make this right.”

The story is worth a look because it tells not only how lives are disrupted and destroyed by the spill…that BP is not just screwing up the big stuff like stopping the leak, but also a lot of smaller stuff like hiring the right translators for a community meeting. It shows that some bait shops have simply and quietly closed, and people who would normally be working on the Gulf are standing in church food lines to feed their families.

When we learn that “a meeting between BP and Vietnamese fishermen dissolved after translators used northern Vietnamese phrases that many here associate with communism,” we have to shake our heads. Just how dumb can it get? Vietnamese fishermen settled here after Siagon fell in 1975 – they worked hard, carved out a living and deserve a hell of a lot better than that.

Just another example of BP’s total ineptitude when it comes to the people issue. From the CEO’s recent appearance at a glitzy yacht race (while oil gushed into the Gulf) to the company’s initial policy of having fishermen sign nondisclosure agreements to work on cleanup crews, BP has repeatedly shown it has a tin ear when it comes to handling and relating to the hard-working people caught up in this nightmare.

The story is here


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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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