Just in time for the anniversary of BP’s disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Chevron CEO John Watson did an interview with the Wall Street Journal to prove just how out of touch he is with reality.
He blamed the spill on the "cultural aspects and behavioral aspects" of the folks working on BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig at the time the disaster occurred. That’s right, he basically insulted the people who were victimized by BP’s disregard for worker safety. As Gulf Coast residents are remembering the loved ones they lost one year ago today, John Watson is using the tragedy to score cheap political and PR points. He's truly a classy guy.
"We've been handing this "Wanted" poster out in Watson's hometown to enlist his neighbors' help in calling on him to take responsibility for his company's pollution in Ecuador and communities around the world. Click on the image to view a larger size."
But Watson didn’t stop there. He had plenty of other foot-in-mouth moments ready to go.
Watson is unapologetic about the destruction Big Oil companies are causing to our planet in their reckless pursuit of profits. Instead of taking any responsibility (just like in Ecuador!), he actually took the opportunity to whine about how Americans are taking dirty energy for granted. Seriously.
John Watson has apparently really had his feelings hurt by the entirely appropriate scrutiny fossil fuels industries have been under in the wake of the shocking number of dirty energy disasters we witnessed over the past year. So he’s striking back from his ivory tower — the type of digs you can afford when you make $14 million a year (an exorbitant salary, no doubt, but don’t worry, Chevron doesn’t have to pay any taxes so the company can afford it). Watson proclaimed that Americans have “a lot to learn” about how great and wonderful fossil fuels are.
What, in all his enlightenment, does Mr. Watson think we need to learn? For one thing, he'd like to scold us Americans for taking “affordable energy for granted.” It takes a lot of balls to say this to a country you’re fleecing at the pump with $4.00-plus gallons of gas. But, then again, I’m sure Watson hasn’t had to fill up his own tank in years.
Watson would also like to inform us that peak oil is a myth. Phew! And here we were all eager to move to infinite renewable energy sources because we were worried that a finite resource like oil might some day run out. Good to know that John Watson, magician, is on the case to make oil last forever!
Maybe Watson has someone else reading the news for him, too, because the IMF recently warned that “global oil markets have entered a period of increased scarcity.” Whoops!
But the really incredible pronouncement Mr. Watson made in his interview was that he “roundly disagrees with the finding of Mr. Obama’s spill commission that the ‘root causes’ of [BP’s Gulf of Mexico] spill were ‘systemic’ to the industry.”
Apparently Mr. Watson is hoping that we’ve all forgotten about how BP's horrendously inadequate oil spill response plan was actually an industry standard. I refer of course to the spill response plan that talked about protecting species that don’t exist in the Gulf and listed a scientific expert as an emergency contact even though he’d been dead for years. Even if you have forgotten about that, I guarantee you that Mr. Watson remembers it well enough, because his company – like several other Big Oil companies, including Exxon, Shell, and ConocoPhillips – got busted for using the same exact oil spill response plans for their Gulf operations. We're not talking similar plans with similar shortcomings, but the same exact plan cut and pasted. But no, no systemic problems to see here, folks. Move along, please.
Why would Watson lie about the industry-wide tendency to cut corners in order to maximize profits? Probably because his company just got the first permit to resume new deepwater drilling operations in the Gulf since the post-BP oil spill ban was lifted. Chevron is sinking billions of dollars into what the Houston Chronicle once called "a massive floating city” of offshore rigs in the Gulf. So it’s a lot more than convenient for Mr. Watson and Chevron that he failed to mention this damning evidence of systemic problems.
This type of self-serving misinformation is just business as usual for Watson and Chevron. What’s really incredible is that he is uncouth enough to trot out this drivel as the rest of the country is remembering a horrible tragedy caused by the very same cavalier attitude Mr. Watson is proud to display in this interview.