NEWS BLOG (WSAU) I am going on vacation next month. I will probably see a Broadway show. I’ll be making a trip to Belmont Park for an afternoon of horse racing. I might also spend a day at the beach, and will make a side-trip to Maine to visit my brother-in-law. Are you ok with that? Are these approved activities?
Apparently BP-America chairman Tony Hayward taking part in a yacht race is not approved. The White House and the press pointed out that the leader of the company responsible for Gulf oil leak likes to spend his vacation on the water. Some consider it a cruel irony that Hayward is on his sailboat while the fishing boats of the Gulf are stuck at their docks. A public relations agent would have recommended against this. But Hayward doesn’t consult with a PR flack before going on vacation. Neither do I. You wouldn’t either.
This is Hayward’s second big gaffe. Earlier he was quoted as saying “I want my life back” when discussing the oil spill. His choice of words was poor. However, does anyone misunderstand his meaning? He should have said, “I joined BP to run an oil company. My goal and passion is to help meet the energy needs of a growing economy. That’s what I want to do when I go into the office each day. I don’t want to preside over my company being an environmental parraih. I don’t want the only narrative about the company I run to be the damage we’ve caused or the clean-up that’s ahead of us. I, like everyone else, liked the way things were at BP the day before the oil spill, not after.”
Hayward is too convenient a scapegoat. He has no technical engineering background. He had no involvement whatsoever with oil rig operations in the Gulf of Mexico. He's an executive. He's not an operational manager. There are more than 3800 oil rigs in the Gulf. It’s entirely possible Hayward had never heard of Deepwater Horizon until the fateful blowout two months ago. And when you’re overseeing such a vast operation, you’re not supposed to know that level of detail.
My comments in no way excuse BP from the environmental disaster in the Gulf. Someone did cut safety and operational corners on the Deepwater Horizon. Those are the people responsible. If they were being pressured by their superiors to compromise safety in the name of higher output targets, those managers should be held to account. But I don’t begrudge Tony Hayward his vacation. He’s free to do as he pleases. While we’re on the subject, it doesn’t bother me one bit that President Obama likes to play golf during his time off. Now is it ok if I go to the racetrack?
Operations Manager, Midwest Communications-Wausau
PS – Robert Samuelson, who writes more about economics than politics, has an excellent report on the reality of green energy. Ponder this gem: “the conversion of all of America's yearly soybean production into jet fuel would only provide about 20 percent of U.S. jet fuel demand. Jet fuel, in turn, is about 8 percent of U.S. oil use.” Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/232u9kz