Douglas Brinkley Rips BP For Its Terrible Safety Record

Douglas Brinkley rips British Petroleum for its terrible safety record leading up to this recent disaster in the Gulf Coast. I agree completely with t
up

Douglas Brinkley rips British Petroleum for its terrible safety record leading up to this recent disaster in the Gulf Coast. I agree completely with this statement by Brinkley.

BRINKLEY: The problem is, we have had a lot of drill, baby, drill, and it's spill, baby, spill. People have been telling American people that offshore drilling is dangerous. What we have heard is, oh, well, it's changed. There's new technology. We're now green. British Petroleum's logo said they're for beyond petroleum.

What's new-energy about this? It's dirty oil devastating communities in Louisiana and killing some of our richest wildlife areas. Some of these wildlife places Theodore Roosevelt saved. President Roosevelt went down there.

It's a damn shame it takes something like this disaster to get people talking rationally about the subject instead of the ridiculous "drill baby drill" crap we first heard from Sarah Palin. Digby had what I think was the best one liner in response to Palin -- How's That Oily Drilly Thing Working Out For Ya?*.

Entire transcript via CNN.

GUPTA: You heard it there. And, earlier, we got an e-mail from a prominent critic of offshore drilling and BP.

To say it got our attention doesn't do it justice. It certainly got us the man who wrote, historian Douglas Brinkley, a spot on the program tonight, his latest book, "The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America."

Thanks for joining us.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY: Well, thanks for having me, Sanjay.

GUPTA: You just heard from President Obama there. And he's also said that BP is ultimately responsible for funding the cost of the response and the cleanup. As we know, it's something known as the Oil Pollution Act.

But that doesn't mean the administration had judged the firm as negligent. And they were specific about that.

Are -- are they negligent? Is this firm negligent?

BRINKLEY: Well, we're going to find out. It really looks like it.

First off, BP has had a horrific response. They have -- they -- they did deal with the fact that you had a blast. They're not talking about the environmental endgame here. They have basically gone undercover and started doing a blame game on the oil rig company, instead of taking frontal responsibility for this.

You know, British Petroleum, in 2006, had the worst cracked pipes in the North Slope of -- of Alaska. The EPA and the FBI have been breathing down BP's necks. So, this looks like you are going to be hearing the word British Petroleum in an ugly way right now. And it's not the flower symbol of their logo.

It's been a company in the last few years that have been cutting a lot of corners when it deals with safety issues.

GUPTA: You're pretty fired up about this. And I -- we told them you were going to be talking to us tonight. And we have a statement from them as well. And I want to read it to you, David, and get your response.

BRINKLEY: OK.

GUPTA: "When BP plans any activity, drilling or otherwise, in addition to all the required permitting for our plans, we also carry out full environmental impact assessments, examining our planned activities in detail, looking at their potential impacts on the environment, and doing all we can to minimize them. The detailed planning includes plans for response to any unexpected incidents."

I guess that's what they're talking about now, David. What's your reaction to that statement?

BRINKLEY: It's -- it's Doug.

But all have you to do is look at Alaska and what they have done up there and what happened in 2006. They also, here in Texas, 2005, had the Texas City -- British Petroleum -- blowup, where people died. British Petroleum is going to be responsible for 10 national wildlife refuges run by U.S. Fish and Wildfire, of a cornucopia of wildlife, beautiful beaches, salt marshes, sandy barrier islands. It's a home of black skimmers.

It is largest tern colony in the United States. And it's -- to be not stepping forward and talking about the wildlife cost, what's going to happen to the economy in Louisiana now, and to be doing the kind of mealy-mouthed statement you just read tells me that British Petroleum is -- is going to be in deeper trouble and as the days come, because they're not facing the consequences of what the company's responsible for.

GUPTA: You know a fair amount about this industry, Doug. And, you know, one thing, when you talk about the rigs, you talk about the company itself, BP's CEO, Tony Hayward, has laid blame on Transocean, saying, basically, it's their rig, it's their equipment, it's their people, their systems, their safety processes.

I mean, does he have a point in that at all?

BRINKLEY: Of course. And they're also hired by British Petroleum.

Both of them are going to be culpable for this. The problem is, we have had a lot of drill, baby, drill, and it's spill, baby, spill. People have been telling American people that offshore drilling is dangerous. What we have heard is, oh, well, it's changed. There's new technology. We're now green. British Petroleum's logo said they're for beyond petroleum.

What's new-energy about this? It's dirty oil devastating communities in Louisiana and killing some of our richest wildlife areas. Some of these wildlife places Theodore Roosevelt saved. President Roosevelt went down there.

GUPTA: Yes.

BRINKLEY: He camped there. And we're going to be -- you're going to be seeing devastation to wildlife in the coming days almost unimaginable.

GUPTA: We have seen -- you have written about this. Seen pictures certainly of him in that area as well.

A lot more on this, I'm sure, in the days to come.

Thanks so much for joining us, Douglas Brinkley. Appreciate it.

BRINKLEY: Thank you. No problem.

Update: Brinkley appeared on CNN the following night and ripped Sarah Palin for being a mouthpiece for the oil industry in Alaska.

About Heather

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.