Tuesday, May 25, 2010

In the oil "clean-up," who does the dirty work?

When BP CEO, Tony Hayward says, "We will clean every last drop" of the beyond-disatrous oil contamination of the water and shores of the Gulf Coast, I wonder who he means by "we". The front-page story in the Austin American-Statesman that features this quote, along with a photo of a "devastated" Hayward also features a photo of "a worker" using a hand-held mop to sop up an oil-soaked section of sand on Port Fourchon Beach. The worker is not named and he is not a white man.

Who is doing the dangerous, back-breaking work of "clean-up"? How much are they getting paid? What if they get sick in the process of handling oil sludge? Are they US citizens with health insurance?

I would like to see the clean-up work being done by the executives of BP, beginning at the top. Also, stockholders, as owners of the business, share responsibility for the accident. They took known risks by drilling so deep into the ocean floor. Do they feel it's fair to transfer the messiest consequences of those risks onto the backs of others?

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