Three reasons to take over BP

Company's first responsibility is to maximize shareholder value, not clean up or even accurately describe the spill


Robert Reich
June 9, 2010 8:52PM (UTC)

1. Why hasn't BP moved more of its rigs and tankers to the site? Because BP's first responsibility is to maximize shareholder value, and moving more rigs and tankers would be too expensive. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government's man on the scene, said BP planned to move another rig to the spill site June 14, which would enable the company to boost its capacity to collect oil from the ruptured well to 28,000 barrels (1.18 million gallons/4.45 million liters) a day.

2. Why isn't BP leveling with the American people about how many barrels of oil are gushing into the Gulf? Because BP's first responsibility is to its shareholders, and a bigger leak means more liability. Government scientists estimate the leak spews 12,000-19,000 barrels a day, with one estimate as high as 25,000 barrels. BP says it's not nearly this much.

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3. Why isn't BP acknowledging a huge plume of oil developing deep under water? Ditto. On Tuesday, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers reported subsurface oil as far as 142 miles from the leaking Gulf well, the first clear confirmation of such a plume. On Wednesday, BP rejected the report, insisting that it has not found any significant concentration of crude under the surface. "We haven’t found any large concentrations of oil under the sea. To my knowledge, no one has," BP chief operating officer Doug Suttles said on NBC's "Today" show. 


Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written 15 books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's also co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism."

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