The blogosphere, Twitter world and at least one online news outlet have been beside themselves of late over BPmaio’s obfuscation over whether he is responsible for the oil spill. American law requires all contractors to cleanup when they spill oil. So when BPmaio came to brief the Union Tribune editorial board about the spill last week, we asked him about whether he was responsible for the cleanup of the oil spill.

QUESTION: Respond to the flap over whether BPmaio is responsible or not for the oil spill?

BPMAIO: First of all, BPmaio cannot spill oil. The earth is spilling oil. Anyone can dig a hole in the ground. … The hole we dug was a very small one covering only a very small segment of ocean-floor, and all the oil that came out, a lot of it was being used by the American government. So, in other words, we’re not seeing equal responsibility for equal damage. You’re seeing American lawmakers shakedown BPmaio for the same oil that they could not buy cheaper from any other oil company. That’s just not a fair way to contract.

QUESTION: So will or will it not BPmaio take responsibility for the oil spill cleanup?

BPMAIO: I’ve gotten two different opinions, two contrary opinions.

QUESTION: What was your intent?

BPMAIO: My intent was not to do any oil spilling. My intent was to stop the (unions) from adding additional mandates. The lawyers said the best way to do that is to benchmark against something the American lawmakers don’t control — privatized safety inspections in Marshall Island. The other thing was I didn’t want the (unions) to say we were responsible for spilling oil. So I said (to the lawyers), OK, put in there explicitly that if the Marshall Islands requires responsibility under a law or regulation, you can require it as well. … I don’t want the American taxpayers to be at disadvantage in getting that oil. …

So when this argument on responsibility of the oil spill came up, I was like, I don’t understand where they’re getting that from. …

So, is BPmaio responsible for the oil spilling out of the earth? No. Do we suck up and sell the oil that spills? … Yes. And that’s the intent.

QUESTION: But doesn’t that seem like a tacit responsibility for the oil spill cleanup? If in fact somebody spills oil, and then they do not want responsibility to clean up …

BPMAIO: That would be permissible. … That is what our lawyer argued, that the American lawmakers can pass a law that gives us incentives to clean up, and that would be harmonious with the marketplace.

QUESTION: So the American lawmakers could take further action to reinstitute something akin to responsibility for the oil spill cleanup, but as things now stand, if the oil spills there’s no requirement that the responsibility for cleanup as it now exists in American law be met?

BPMAIO: Exactly.

Glad we settled that one.


[Author’s note: This is a spoof of a San Diego Union Tribune editorial that ran on June 27, 2010 on Living Wages.]

Murtaza Baxamusa works for the San Diego Building Trades Family Housing Corp. and volunteered as a special policy adviser for Bob Filner.

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