Saturday, June 12, 2010

Who Thinks BP Will Pay?


Wonder if there's any truth to this:
BP hides assets from potential oil spill lawsuits


Internal sources confirmed last night that the company is seeking shelter by transferring assets off the books of BP North America, a fully owned subsidiary of BP plc, to other entities that fall outside of any US jurisdiction.

Such action means that claimants or any US court issued order for full payment and restitution cannot be applied to those hidden and transferred assets. It was already previously reported that BP was seeking ways to protect itself from large liabilities and it was confirmed that a bankruptcy filing was being worked on by their legal department.Still think BP will pay?


I’ve been sort of stunned at the reaction various people have when I ask why there haven’t been telethons and benefits to help those affected by the Gulf oil spill. I get a swift almost visceral “make BP pay!” reaction from folks, and it’s not a liberal/conservative thing, because plenty of liberals have told me that as well.

I guess I”m the biggest cynic on the planet because I don’t think BP will pay for everything -- they can’t. We don’t even know what “everything” is right now.

Yes they will pay for some things. I’d love to stick it to them where it hurts as much as the next person. But come on, people. We don’t even know the full extent of the damage here. This is going to be with us for decades. Oil is still vomiting out of the seabed, now they say it will be gushing until fall. The Exxon Valdez was a comparatively small 11 million gallons and oil still washes up on the rocks of Prince William Sound to this day, after 21 years. The fish there have not returned.

People on the beaches of Louisiana know the tourist industry is gone, not just for this summer but for good:
Expensive flood insurance bills are due for many residents this month. At least one home was put up for sale because of the spill, a broker said, but it was unclear if anyone would buy it now.

The only “person” who is going to buy that house is BP. Think they will? I’m guessing ... no.

And it’s not just people on the Gulf who are impacted. Now there are fears the oil spill will affect Mississippi River shipping lanes, which farmers in the Midwest use to transport agricultural products to overseas markets. This might affect how an Iowa farmer ships his soybeans to wherever we send soybeans.

I am thinking the magnitude of this disaster is lost on people. I don’t think we are getting it. Hell, I’ve been saying we aren’t getting for a month now. I don’t think Washington gets it and I don’t think the media gets it. This is not just a tragedy for the Gulf Coast. This is a tragedy for the entire nation.

And let’s take a minute and look at BP. I thought we as a nation were supposedly reeling from the repeated failure of our major institutions? Maybe I’m the only one. You really think BP will pay, knowing Exxon Mobil, the most profitable corporation in the history of human enterprise, appealed their judgment all the way to the United States Supreme Court, dragging the case out for 20 years and spending millions on lawyers so they wouldn’t have to pay? Why do you think they did that? Because they couldn’t afford the settlement? Bullshit. They did it because they knew this day was coming. They knew someday there would be a massive oil spill that would make the Valdez look like your kid brother pissing in the swimming pool. They did it for the precedent. And here it is.

Look, I’m just being realistic here. Who thinks BP is going to pay? I don’t. Oh sure, they’ll pay some. They’ll pay a lot. But they won’t pay it all. Have we learned nothing from past corporate failures? Nothing at all?