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BP’s oil stained reputation

In the shadow of the worst oil spill the world has ever seen, not suprisingly, since the start of the crisis, BP has been desperately trying to contain what they consider a PR scandal that is as hard to cap as the oil gushing out of their faulty rig. If you haven’t seen it already, below is a video of a CBS news crew being threatened with arrest for trying to capture footage of the impact of the oil spill along the coast of Louisiana.

What’s been the most apparent, however, over the long weeks that have followed is a sheer lack of understanding of the magnitude of the spill, and any sign of true caring. Where once, it was touted as the hopeful leader of sustainability, BP is now the posterchild for greenwashing at its worst – continuing to spend millions on a positive publicity campaign around the oil spill, while failing to make any significant progress in capping the oil that continues to gush by the barrel-load into the ocean. No amount of paid publicity continuing to speak to the good BP is doing can hide the failure of the company to produce a disaster recovery plan, or that poor safety standards and cost-cutting methods are at the heart of the disaster, or even the maddeningly unprofessional, irresponsible way BP’s executives have responded to the mess BP has created.

Over the last 55 days of the oil crisis, we have observed many public statements from BP’s CEO, Tony Hayward. Comments like:

“I think the environmental impact has been very very modest.”

“The amount of oil and dispersant we are putting [into the Gulf of Mexico] is tiny in comparison to total water volume.”

But the most recent comment is so ridiculous, it’s almost laughable. Mr. Hayward would like his life back.

Truly a spectacle you are, Mr. Hayward. And the world would like its oceans back. Eleven families would like their fathers, brothers and sons back. The communities dependent on the Gulf for their livelihoods would like their livelihoods back. But wishing isn’t going to do it, is it? No one is sympathetic to your ill-thought-out excuses and complaints. Just finish the job already… and as a thought. Perhaps your time and money would be better spent focusing on the oil crisis, rather than the suppression of the truth and fancy advertising campaigns? Just a thought. And from the reports of Obama’s plans to reform oil today – looks like Mr. President thinks so too.

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