BP was once again under fire from US Senators last night over claims that it was responsible for the Challenger disaster on January 28th, 1986. “Those goddamned Limeys must have been responsible,” claimed Senator Ivor Price, whilst stuffing cash into his pockets from special interest groups.
“They almost certainly had a rig in the Gulf area at the time, and the Gulf’s just the other side of Florida. Only an incompetent British oil company could cause an explosion that large. American engineering and management is 100% cotton-pickin’ perfect.”
President Obama stepped into the furore, anxious for fair play and the rule of law to be upheld prior to November’s mid-term elections. “We’re now going to close down the entire US aerospace industry for six months and have BP pay the wages of all the workers,” he said. “I’m also going to hold a gun to the head of Prime Minister Cameron to get him to confess that Britain was responsible for the plan to invade Iraq and Afghanistan.”
“America has 5% of the world’s population but uses 25% of the world’s energy and refuses to ratify any agreements on greenhouse gases,” admitted the President. “We therefore think it’s only fair that BP picks up the cost of America’s appalling record of pollution.”
Amongst the other American environmental crimes for which BP will be held responsible are:
- Use of approximately 12,000,000 gallons (US) of Agent Orange from 1961-71 in Vietnam, eastern Laos and parts of Cambodia by the United States military. The Vietnamese government estimates that some 400,000 deaths and disabilities were caused by direct spraying, and as many as a further 500,000 birth defects. The US government has not paid compensation, or attempted to clean up the pollution.
- The 1982 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, India. Whilst 3,737 deaths have been confirmed by the government of Madhya Pradesh, other government agencies believe there were c.8,000 deaths in the weeks after the leak and an additional 8,000 in the years afterwards. A government affidavit filed in the US Supreme Court in 2006 cited 558,125 cases of injuries resulting from the disaster. In 2008, 26 years after the disaster, sources said that 390 tonnes of chemicals abandoned at the site continued to leak into the local environment and ground water. In 1999, 17 years after the disaster (and presumably after many victims had died through lack of medical care, or died indirectly through injury-induced poverty) UCC agreed to $470m compensation, which was the sum for which they were insured, plus interest. Their generosity knows no bounds.
Breaking news: Transocean ‘Not to blame. Not.’
On July 23rd Mike Williams, a Transocean employee responsible for the electronic systems on the Deepwater Horizon rig told a federal investigation that the alarms had been ‘inhibited’ (i.e. turned off) to avoid interrupting the sleep of the crew. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/23/deepwater-horizon-oil-rig-alarms)
Newshounds may recall the Congressional lynch mob on 17th June trying to get BP’s CEO, Tony Hayward, to admit BP’s liability for the Deepwater Horizon disaster. He was accused of ‘stonewalling’ when he refused to apportion blame prior to an ongoing federal investigation. Last night the White House was quick not to ‘hold a boot to the throat’ of any American company which looked like its deliberate bypassing of safety procedures contributed to the disaster.