As we go to press, the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon’s last well has been slowed by cutting off the riser, and fitting a cap and pipe device BP calls a lower marine riser package (LMRP). The LMRP is capturing an increasing percentage of the estimated 12,000 barrels to 24,000 barrels per day coming out of the well.
BP also demonstrates progress on the public relations front. The LMRP’s NASA-like acronym inspires confidence. It’s much more convincing that BP is taking the leak seriously than when they bandied about terms like “top hat,” “junk shot,” and “outhouse.”
Still, BP is doing better against the rogue well than it is in the PR battle, where a steadily increasing number of individuals and groups are joining an outcry to boycott BP products, most visibly, gasoline. Mississippi’s Jackson Citizen Patriot reports that protests at BP gas stations have sprouted around the world, with events scheduled at franchises from Berlin to Concord, California, and some three million people have joined a “Boycott BP” group on Facebook.
You can find boycott supporters at www.commondreams.org, www.citizens.org and of course, www.boycottbp.org. If Jesse Jackson and Chicago’s Father Michael Pfleger have their way, faith in God will lead you to join the boycott (be sure to buy a T-shirt and bumper sticker at www.cafepress.com).
I, on the other hand, will be buying more BP products, and I encourage folks of all faiths and political stripes to join me. It’s the sensible thing to do, and here’s why.
Conservatives believe that our interests are best served simply by buying the best products at the best price. The best businesses will grow at the expense of lesser businesses. BP is huge and supplies great gasoline at very competitive prices. One of the reasons is that it does not waste money on unnecessary frills when drilling oil wells. It doesn’t spend on double pipe where a single pipe should be good enough, or extra time at $1 million a day circulating drilling mud to be overcautious about gas buildup, or superfluous post-placement cement tests, or repairing redundant controls on blowout preventers. Let’s buy all the gasoline we want from BP unless its costs price it out of the market or drive it out of business.
Liberals want the government to run, if not own, the oil companies, but the closest we can come is to regulate their every move. We’ll require simultaneous drilling of production and relief wells like I’ve heard they do in Canada, as well as lined piping, extensive testing, observation by government officials and thorough documentation. This will cost a lot of money that could come through taxes but even liberals don’t like higher taxes, so let’s give BP the money by buying its gasoline.
Environmentalists want no drilling anywhere that there is any conceivable risk of harm to the ecosystem. We would stop using gasoline altogether, but BP and the automakers have conspired to make us buy gas, even for our hybrids. We’ll all buy electric cars as soon as we can, but meanwhile we want to be able to sue the trousers off BP. There won’t be any money to sue for if BP goes bankrupt, so let’s buy what little gasoline we absolutely have to from BP.
The point we all can agree on is that we want to be sure all the costs of this disaster are borne by those responsible for it — at least, the costs we can calculate in dollars. If BP and its business partners don’t pay for it, our taxes will. If we give our money to BP instead of the government, at least we get some gas.