In Defense of BP.

Via News
on Jun 23, 2010
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Via Becca West on New Era News, where this originally appeared.

The Unlikely Story of a Vegan…and an Oil Company.

In regards to the oil spill, it seems that there hasn’t been room in the media for an article like this at the moment, but I figure most people know there are always two ways to see any story. I’m hoping people are willing to test their ability to consider two opposing ideas at the same time. ~ BW

My father is the Duty Chief of Staff for Deepwater Horizons BP. He currently works below the vice president on a special assignment called “The Investigation Team.” Before the Gulf Coast disaster, he held a different position—Manager of Health, Safety and Environment for Beyond Petroleum.

Now, before you believe that I, too, am a Texas Republican like my father, give me a chance to explain myself. I am a self-identified bleeding-heart liberal who’s been a vegetarian for four years and vegan for two and a half. I volunteer at two animal shelters (Colorado Horse Rescue and Greenwood Wildlife Refuge). I recycle, eat organic foods and let it mellow if it’s yellow to conserve water.

BP is the world’s largest supplier of solar panels, amongst other environmentally-friendly and progressive tools. They believe in renewable and sustainable advancements, and as far as any hard evidence has shown, on the day of the oil spill, they weren’t breaking the law.

BP was merely another big business supplying the world’s most desired and demanded raw material. We, the American people, are the reason BP was drilling offshore in the first place. We have such a high demand for oil — what choice did we have? More dependence on foreign oil? Has anyone else come up with any solid solutions or alternatives? No.

And that’s the real tragedy.

I personally am not impressed with how long and in what ways BP has chosen to fix the tragedy that they have caused. But, I am proud of everyone I have spoken to or seen involved with the company who has lost hours of sleep, time away from their families, worked 14 days straight and grieved the loss of life (animal and human) their company has caused in an effort to solve this problem. When people on the news or to my face claim BP doesn’t care or doesn’t care enough, it makes me angry because I feel as if I am under scrutiny for my beliefs.

Why isn’t anybody looking at themselves and saying, “I am a part of this?” In many ways, our inability to wean ourselves from our oil addiction has contributed to this.  Our consumer demand is what drove this company to seek further oil sources.

Please remember that not everyone who works for an oil company is evil, heartless or lacks morality. They care and they don’t want to be part of the biggest environmental disaster of this century. They have families and retirements they’ve worked for, and in one afternoon thousands of careers were put into question. We all have a responsibility to come up with a solution, not just anti-BP bumper stickers.

For more articles by New Era Colorado authors, please head to New Era News!


About News

Andrew Whitehead is a soon-to-be graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in Environmental Studies. He grew up in the grand country of Ireland, which is probably where he began to develop his exquisite beer palate. After moving to Wayne, Pennsylvania, Andrew became seriously passionate about the environment and strives to spread his awareness with anyone willing to listen. In his free time he loves to play hockey and soccer as well as go hiking. All that know him well fear his obsession with goats will land him a staring role on the well-known American TV show “Hoarders”.


15 Responses to “In Defense of BP.”

  1. whollyafool says:

    Thanks for this article. I totally agree that the American people are to blame for this oil spill before blaming BP, the Obama administration, or anyone else for that matter.
    It's a tough situation, and people are constantly searching for someone to blame.

  2. Nancy says:

    Bp is to blame for not having the safety catches it needed to have. The politicians also have much to blame in this disaster … for being in cahoots with the companies an by letting them regulate themselves and pocketing the profits.But you are correct. We the American people as does the rest of the world need to be weened off oil. I just found out that the oil no matter where it's drilled is sold on the international market so it's not "our" oil. It's the world's oil. I dont think many American's know that! I have been asking everyone that bitches about all this…"what have you done today to change our dependency on oil?" That is the only way we are going to change this outcome. I look at this disaster like a heart attack. We aren't sure how long we have but it deff. has awaken many of us. We need to stop using oil!!!

  3. *K* says:

    I think we are all to blame as well…BUT the american people are not to blame for the fact that BP chose to save money instead of installing a safety shut off, which would have made most if not all of the environmental impact avoidable. I stand by my statement that BP "doesn't [didn't] care enough."

  4. Greg says:

    You have explained exactly what others have speculated. BP is heavily invested in progressive "green" projects. They stand to do okay from this disaster. Shut down the drilling. They profit.

    Given you are so close to the problem, maybe you could respond to a few questions floating around.

    John Podesta of the Center for American Progress supplies the Obama administration with their policy positions. CAP is funded by George Soros, who financed getting Obama elected. John Podesta's brother, Tony Podesta, lobbies for BP. And BP was a funding source for Obama. Is there a conflict of interest here? Or do Soros, Obama, Podesta, all have a stake in Cap and Trade for U.S.?

    Why did Obama promise from $2 to $10 billion to Petrobras, in Brazil, to drill for oil at even deeper depths? Soros is heavily invested in Petrobras. Is that the reason? When the oil rigs in Gulf are idled by Obama moratorium, they will be available to be sent to Brazil. How do you feel about that? Is it okay that this administration underwrites oil drilling for a crony while shutting down our industry?

    Why were the offers of clean up equipment and ships from foreign lands, some of whom have addressed major spills before, rejected? Does BP have a stake in letting this disaster run unchecked so Americans buy off on Cap and Trade? Or are they really doing everything possible? If so, why do federal agencies keep getting in the way of clean up with arbitrary rules, such as the Coast Guard refusing to let the skimmer boats get to work because they wanted to check the life preservers?

    I would agree to take the blame you are ready to place upon my shoulders IF my attorney can question your father in a criminal investigation regarding this spill. Can you arrange a deposition in which my lawyer (who represents me against the claim of negligence in my use of oil products) can question your father about the events that took place and are taking place?

    My lawyer works for major clients in major litigation, and at times with the DOJ, so he is qualified to begin this process so that we can determine if I should take the blame or if a criminal situation exists that must be addressed. Would it be possible, given you have the close connection, for you to convince your father there are questions that need to be answered—and he could be a big help. If I am guilty as charged, then okay I will pay the penalty. If not, I would rather not pay the price.

  5. Indicium4U says:

    The safety shut off that is the industry fails appears to have failed in this case, maybe even three times. Watch a show on the Science Channel called "Disaster in the Gulf" and you will see how much engineering is involved and how the BOP shoud have stopped this problem.

  6. ColoMama says:

    It is easy to make exceptions for those we love.

  7. ARCreated says:

    Just for the record PERSONALLY I try everyday to lessen my "demand" and I vote against offshore drilling…I am not to blame…that being said although we can all do our part and although there are many wonderful people that do work at bp, of this I have no doubt…the safety measure still rest on the shoulders of those involved —- so I feel pretty OK feeling like bp and the government agencies charged with safety let us down…and those whack jobs screaming drill, baby, drill —- I blame them a little bit too….

  8. Pam says:

    I grew up in the Gulf area and am saddened by what has happened. However, in thinking about the bigger picture..these were my thoughts..

    I understand the above comments – politics and lack of safety to blame…I feel these are always the unfortunate cases in manmade disaster. But, at the same time, how does one break this cycle…

  9. We are all in this together. All to blame–some work harder than others to conserve, etc. So many products require oil, not just our cars. It takes 17 milllion barrels of fossil fuels to manufacture and transport bottled water. Most conventional candles (paraffin) are made from petroleum byproducts [read more here… ] We, the people, absolutely need to take responsibility. But so does BP and the government, etc.

    But the bottom line is we need to stop and think. What is our next step as a human race?

  10. Shad Murib says:

    As the editor of New Era News and an employee of New Era Colorado, I would like to thank the Elephant readers for being a classy bunch.

  11. Indicium4U says:

    Do we have double standards when it comes to oil?

    Recently I have been appalled by the media and behavior of my fellow Americans regarding the disaster in the Gulf. The article and quote below has prompted me to speak my mind.

    Nigeria's agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill. The US and Europe ignore it
    The Deepwater Horizon disaster caused headlines around the world, yet the people who live in the Niger delta have had to live with environmental catastrophes for decades
    "The oil companies just ignore it. The lawmakers do not care and people must live with pollution daily. The situation is now worse than it was 30 years ago. Nothing is changing. When I see the efforts that are being made in the US I feel a great sense of sadness at the double standards. What they do in the US or in Europe is very different."

    Although the oil industry has provided for my family for many years and I genuinely feel for all involved or affected by the current crisis in the Gulf, I am frustrated not by what has happened so much as by how we in this Country have reacted i.e., the public, government and media. Do we have a double standard when it comes to oil production and consumption?

    The American public thinks we are the only ones suffering at the hands of oil companies; never mind that it is self inflicted to feed our increasing dependency on oil, what about other countries suffering on our behalf? Yes! I mean us and our insatiable appetite for oil and petrochemical products, and the affect we are having in the global community. I am personally disgusted by the way the media, the lawyers, politicians and public are responding to the accident of late; as if this accident was directed at the American people. America is not the only place accidents happen.

    Perhaps we need to put more thought behind our addiction to oil if the situation in the Gulf frightens and angers us. What have we done to change our attitudes and actions since the oil crisis of the 1970's? How soon we forget. I personally don't have the answer but I find it very unsettling that when something happens in our own backyard we find the need to act, and don't seem to know or care what happens elsewhere.

  12. ben shrager says:

    Canada, Norway and Brazil require all offshore wells to have a onshore remote control to shut off wells at a cost $500,000. offshore in the US do not have this mechanism.

  13. Becca West says:

    Thank you all very much for your comments and thoughts. I will reply ASAP, probably Sunday or Monday…

  14. […] In Defense of BP is a short article written by a left-wing vegan close to the BP oil spill in family ties. An unlikely perspective. […]

  15. nathan johnson says:

    We are all to blame. But it is very clear that BP's is more loyal and cosiderate to its shareholders and board members than to the earth that sustains us. Is it wrong to profit from a product people want? At some point we need to ask ourselves this and choose the right vocations. We need to invest our energy and time in the next generation to help correct how out of balance and unsustainable our culture is. The american dream is more to blame than most see or admit. It is no longer OK to say if i do not take this job or offer this service some one else will.