Communications from BP in recent weeks claim the oil company has reversed the damage from the Deep Horizon oil spill, both environmentally and economically. This communications effort flies in the face of factual reality of dead wildlife, decimated fishing careers, and the ongoing economic hardship felt throughout the Gulf region. The unfactual, dishonest communications campaign once again demonstrates BP’s lack of ethical integrity. Worse, it is occurring as the globe moves to celebrate Earth Day this Friday, adding insult to injury.
Last year throughout the oil spill, BP consistently lied to the public about its actions and the damages sustained by the Gulf. The transgressions were in direct conflict with basic communications ethics, and represented one of the worst cover-ups in modern history. It demonstrated BP’s true lack of corporate citizenship, and a willingness to through entire ecologies under the bus all in the name of shareholder value.
Complicit in its lack of action, the Obama Administration only brought pressure to bear on BP after significant public anger was expressed. It took the likes of @BPGlobalPR on Twitter lampooning BP’s slimy communications and citizen journalists showing the damages on closed public (and policed) beaches, to inspire the incredible amounts of negative media pressure.
The ensuing call to the carpet caused bumbling yachtsman and BP America CEO Tony Hayward to step down from his job. It cost BP $20 billion is damages before a single liability trial began. It caused a leadership shake-up in the EPA’s Mines Minerals Service. All for naught.
One year later, the Gulf still suffers. BP is still lying through its public teeth, more worried about its public image than doing the right thing. And the Obama Administration claims to be holding BP accountable, whistling in the dark about what may really happen as the 2012 election looms.
It has been and remains evident that the only thing that can help the Gulf is us. Citizen action (see this current Ushahidi map) alone can help because the responsible parties simply won’t. If you want to help the Gulf, this Earth Day please consider donating to the Surfrider Foundation or the Ocean Conservancy.
What do you think about BP and the Obama Administration one year after Deep Horizon?