© The United States Coast Guard
It appears that oil companies live in a universe parallel to our own. Let’s call it Lalaland.
Lalaland is a very special place – a sort of dreamland if you’re a top executive working in drilling – for, say, Transocean. It’s a place where you can get a bonus for “best year in safety performance in our company's history”, despite the fact that your company owned and partly operated a rig that killed 11 workers when it blew up, sank, and caused the largest accidental oil spill in history.
In Lalaland, you see, a top executive for an oil drilling company can live in his/her own bubble, and tell themselves this is perfectly normal – because if you discount that tiny little incident, really, they did a nice job. You can ignore the government report that exposed how your lack of concern for security – and your higher concern for quick profit – was among the root causes of a disaster that choked the Gulf of Mexico for 6 months. You can waive away the fact that while you’re getting your fat bonus for safety – the people who were financially hurt by the oil spill are still having problems receiving the money they feel they’re owed.
The oil drilling executives are mixing up Lalaland with the real world. In the real world, where you and I live, and go to work every day, and try to actually earn our paychecks, and don’t get ridiculous bonuses, the biggest accidental oil disaster in history does not equal a good safety record. Quite the opposite, in fact. It should make us wonder about all the other things that oil executives are calling safe (most deepwater drilling, drilling in polar regions, tar sands…) and seriously question their sanity.
How long will we let the Lalalanders govern our energy choices?