Two weeks after BP sucessfully capped the leak, there is now little evidence of surface pollution.
John Amos, president of environmental pressure group SkyTruth, says: “Oil has a finite life span at the surface. At this point, that oil slick is really starting to dissipate pretty rapidly.”
So it is against this background this we should view the arrogant show-boating of the US Senate in wanting to haul in BP’s departing chief executive Tony Hayward, former UK Justice Secretary Jack Straw and Scotland’s Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill for questioning. Straw and MacAskill answer to the British and Scottish people, not the US Senate.
David Hughes is the Daily Telegraph's chief leader writer. He has been covering British politics for 30 years.
The Senate's hounding of BP is nauseating
By David Hughes
July 28th, 2010
Tony Hayward is stepping down as chief executive of BP
BP has hardly covered itself in glory over the Gulf oil spill and, as predicted last week, at least one head had to roll before the oil company could start to draw a line under the business. But the mood is changing fast, not only because the company has shown that it can carry the truly colossal cost of this disaster without going down the tubes. It also appears that the slick is vanishing far faster than thought.
According to this account there is – two weeks after the leak was succesfully capped - little evidence left of surface pollution. It quotes John Amos, president of SkyTruth, an environmental pressure group that had been among the first to warn of the scale of the catastophe: “Oil has a finite life span at the surface. At this point, that oil slick is really starting to dissipate pretty rapidly.”
It is against this rather encouraging background that we should view the shameless political show-boating of the US Senate in trying to haul BP’s departing chief executive Tony Hayward to Washington (along with former Justice Secretary Jack Straw and Scotland’s Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill) to interrogate them on whether BP lobbied for the release of the Lockerbie bomber, Abdulbaset al-Megrahi.
Wisely, all three have told the Senate to take a running jump. There is something nauseating about this continued hounding of BP by American law-makers. They live in the most oil-dependent country on the planet yet seem obsessed with kicking the companies that have to do the dirty work of getting the black stuff into their gas-guzzlers.
BP has every right to lobby in defence of its commercial interests – are American senators saying it hasn’t? But it is the job of elected politicians – in this case the Scottish Executive – to take the decisions. Perhaps members of the Senate, so used to being manipulated by lobbyists, have lost sight of that distinction. Their attempt to make political mileage out of this should be treated with the contempt it deserves.
Frankly, the UK financial authorities should be conducting an investigation into how American regulators allowed the American subsidiary of a company registered on the London Stock Exchange to operate so incompetently with the effect that half the company's value is wiped out. Perhaps some congressman/senators (aka lynchmob/posse) should be held accountable in front of UK courts for failing to ensure proper regulation of their oil industry.
The most nauseating part of this whole thing was the lynchmob interrogation of Tony Hayward - remember - the hearing that went 'on the record', we were reminded a hundred times by some decrepit old fella asking rhetorical questions. Americans' ignorance of anything outside their own shores allows them to think that other people behave as they do. It was alien to them that the Global CEO should personally get involved in helping to sort out the catastrophe that his American business had created in the Gulf. Instead of recognising his taking responsibility, those congressman simply saw Tony Hayward as a non-Amercan that they could blame and try to imply that it was foreigners that caused this 'assault on their shores' (quote Obama) since all things American are good and faultless, and all evil comes from foreigners. They treated him as if he alone was the engineer on the rig, it was sickening and farcical.
They are absolutely convinced of a link between BP and the release of Megrahi, not because of any evidence, but because they would expect their own American companies and government to have conducted affairs in that way. Also, because compassion isn't in their vocabulary, rather 25 years' torture on death row.
Now they are investigating share transactions and soon they will be going through the payroll looking for office cleaners who don't have work permits. And all to create smokescreens and cover for their own incompetence, and unfortunately all things that the American media will fall for, since they are all in each others' pockets. The hypocrisy is massive when they talk of this terrible environmental attack on their shores, while at the same time puting environmental legislation to the bottom of the pile, having been the world's biggest polluter for decades.
Well said. Obama lost his head during the crisis and went on holiday as far away as possible, while Mr Howard dealt with the whole process in a dignified and cool manner. Mr Howard made some unfortunate comments, but with the circus that was around him I would be surprised if he didn't say something that would be used again and again by the media. BP has taken its responsabilities seriously and will come out of this crisis with a better reputation, while the US has shown how mediocre their Senate and procedures are.
I wonder when the Senate will start questioning Bophal about their responsabilites...
America is hungry for oil and as we all know oil exploration has risks.
I wonder how many companies could have coped with the resutls of this oil spill. So far none of BP's partners have come up with their share for the cost of the disaster.... Oh, yes ... they are American Companies.
I don't think the Lockerbie bomber should have been released. BUT who the hell do the US Senate think they are demanding that our politicians appear in front of one of their commitees? Our politicians answer to us not the US Senate. They can go to hell.