Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

One cost BP should not have to pay


I'm with Andrew Samwick on this one: I'll happily sign onto pretty draconian punishments for BP, but it's absurd to make them pay the lost wages of oil workers affected by the new moratorium on deep-water drilling. Robert Gibbs says that "the moratorium is a result of the accident that BP caused" and so "those are claims that BP should pay." But that's fishy (no pun intended): That moratorium is a political response to the BP spill. It's not the same as a Gulf Coast fisherman who can no longer fish, or a Louisiana tourist town that's suddenly facing endless cancellations.

BP should pay for the many instances in which it robbed people of their economic agency by coating their livelihoods in oil. This is not one of those cases. Congress had agency here, not BP.

Photo credit: Shannon Stapleton-Reuters.

By Ezra Klein  |  June 14, 2010; 12:23 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Stimulus isn't free
Next: Lunch break


I wouldn't worry too much about what they ought not have to pay, because they probably won't even pay for all of what they ought to pay.

Posted by: Lomillialor | June 14, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

The alternative to having BP pay is to acknowledge that the policy has a cost. Curtailing domestic oil production is supposed to be a no-cost easy win for Democrats. The lost oil production will simply be replaced with more imports. I doubt the Administration or Congress ever gave a moment's thought to the job losses. Oil production jobs aren't real jobs like mining coal or building SUV's. It was very rude of somebody to ask who would compensate the thousands of unemployed oil workers.

Posted by: tl_houston | June 14, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Does this mean Obama has fnally learned to ask for more than he wants so he has something to give up?

Posted by: Mimikatz | June 14, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, you've taken too narrow a perspective on this by asserting, "That moratorium is a political response to the BP spill." Like all policies and actions, it has political effects. But it has a far more significant and important purpose: to prevent any other disasters from the numerous other deep water wells being drilled. The BP disaster revealed that (1) the industry wasn't using sound safety and management procedures, (2) the industry wasn't prepared to prevent a disastrous blowout, (3) they had no effective plan--or even adequate equipment--ready in case of a blowout, (4) as a result of 8 yrs of Bush/Republican policies gutting regulatory programs and letting industry regulate itself, federal govmt oversight and regulation of the drilling was essentially non-existent. The only mistake the Obama Admin made was failing to recognize-- BEFORE the blowout-- that the after 8 yrs of the Bush Admin and Repub control of Congress, there wasn't even a paper tiger of federal regulation over offshore drilling. Without the moratorium, we would run the serious risk of MORE blowouts and uncontained millions of gallons of oil in the ocean threatening billions of dollars of coastal and ocean economies. So the moratorium is far more important as an economic-environmental-health protection response. In that sense, it's an appropriate "political" response.

Posted by: zippyzeph | June 14, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for calling BS on this one. I find it annoying that the administration doesn't want to take responsibility for their moratorium decision.

Posted by: jnc4p | June 14, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

One Cost Independent BP Dealers Shouldn't Have To Pay: Cleaning up vandalism. I know it may strike some people as odd, but the independent owner/operators of BP franchises don't actually drill the wells, or make safety decisions, or any of that.

And the working joe who has to clean up all the crap you threw at the BP sign, he definitely doesn't make any deepwater drilling decisions.

If you've got to throw stuff at a BP sign, go get some gas a Citgo (which funds Chavez's Venezuelan People's Utopia) and drive down to the closet corporate offices of BP. At least then the statement would make some sense.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | June 14, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

"So the moratorium is far more important as an economic-environmental-health protection response. In that sense, it's an appropriate "political" response."

That's not the point. The moratorium may well be perfectly justified, but it's not a "damage" that BP caused, it's the result of government regulatory action. The moratorium may well have be more appropriate to have been done before the Deepwater Horizon disaster, rather than after.

If Obama and Congress want to compensate the other oil companies for the costs of the government's decision to have a moratorium, they should institute an increase in the gas tax to fund it. I'm thinking an increase of $.25 over five years ($.05 per year) is a reasonable amount.

The larger question is does this accident show that the inherent risk associated with oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is too great when we have a worst case disaster scenario (no matter how remote the chance may be) and therefore we should permanently ban off shore drilling? No matter how good the technology is, we will always have a risk of this sort of accident happening.

The same risk by the way, applies to nuclear power which Obama may wish to revisit before we have a second Three Mile Island on his watch.

Posted by: jnc4p | June 14, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

hey Kevin, or you can buy at exxon or other companies and help fund islamic terrorism. Take your pick of evils.

I bought gas at BP yesterday to help the independant owner. One of the worst gas stations I have ever visited.

Posted by: Lomillialor | June 14, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

8th Street & Lafayette?

Posted by: leoklein | June 14, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Duh! Houston & Lafayette.

Posted by: leoklein | June 14, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

"hey Kevin, or you can buy at exxon or other companies"

I do. Exxon has that groovy Fast Pass thing. Although I often buy gas at Kroger's or Schnuck's, as they offer discounts to grocery shoppers.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | June 14, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company