Not to make your head explode or anything, but allow me to make your head explode.
Don't worry, I wouldn't ask your head to do anything mine hasn't already done. Here's the transcript of an interview between CNN's Candy Crowley and BP Managing Director Robert Dudley.
It really makes me wish that Rachel Maddow was doing this interview and that it lasted about 20 minutes, because frankly, this had the making of another Rand Paul-style self immolation by Dudley. But considering the short time allotted, it was still pretty good.
First, before you play the interview, or read the transcript below, please remove all sharp or breakable objects and liquids from your reach. That includes coffee cups, decorative figurines, or anything that would make a satisfying wall crash. It also includes things like forks and letter openers that you may feel tempted to shove into your temple to relieve the pressure.
Crowley: You can't really clean all of this up environmentally. There is some lasting damage that will go into decades, will it not?
Dudley: It... it...uh... there's no question that this much oil in the ocean is going to take a long time to clean it up. It's different than the Valdez spill because it's much warmer waters, the biological processes will work faster, but you can clean up the beaches... the marshes are very very sensitive. They're not as simple to get in and clean. There are techniques that will be done. There was a lot of oil spilled in that area after Hurricane Katrina and the marshes have recovered. But we will undoubtedly measure and investigate the results of this spill for many many years to try to determine the long term impacts of this. And we're committed to both cleaning it up, studying it, understanding it.
According to the Minerals Management Service (bureau of the Dept. of the Interior) Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused 124 oil spills totalling 17,700 barrels = 743,400 gallons total.
This spill, depending who you believe (and let's believe the experts) has already leaked well over 100,000,000 gallons. For the zero-challenged, that's one hundred million gallons. And there's no end in sight. Thanks for trying to make us feel better, though, BP. That's like saying, "Look I've had one drink, and everything worked out just fine... So I'm sure it'll work just the same way if I have a hundred and seven, give or take."
Crowley: Among the problems that you have faced, you have a very big PR problem. It all centers around the word "trust." I want to play you something from Congressman Ed Markey that he said this week.
Markey: I think that now we're beginning to understand that we cannot trust BP. People do not trust the experts any longer. BP has lost all credibility. Now the decisions will have to be made by others because it's clear that they have been hiding the actual consequences of the spill.
Crowley: That is pretty tough stuff. I think it stems from a lot of things. First of all, no one believes that only 5000 barrels of oil are coming up off the ocean floor. A lot of people think that BP has been covering up and not telling people what's actually going on. How do you respond to the idea that you've even got people on Capitol Hill that don't believe a word you're saying.
Dudley: Well, all of us at BP are trying to solve the problem. Those words hurt a little bit because we've been open about what we're doing. What we're doing is certainly not anything in secret. We've had direct oversight and involvement from government agencies from the very first hours afterwards. There is an imprecision around the measurement of that crude oil which, I've used the analogy that it's ... it is a little bit like popping a soda can rushing out with lots of gas and oil. There's a lot of gas in this crude. The rate is unclear. We're measuring and producing some of that today, but in terms of not trusting BP, there's nobody...nobody who is more devastated by what has happened, and nobody that wants to shut this off more than we do, and learn what happened so this never happens anywhere to anyone anywhere in the world again. So, I think we're being open with all investigations.
Here's a little tip for the PR-challenged. First, when you've just devastated a third of the country's shore line, incinerated eleven human beings, put countless people out of work, destroyed fisheries, tourism, small business, wildlife, fragile ecosystems, and the mental and physical health of an entire region of the country, and when you have manipulated facts, kept reports from the public, knowingly put people in harm's way, been blatantly negligent, and hidden the results of your devastation by following poison with more poison, don't talk about your hurt feelings.
Second, don't take the worst environmental and financial disaster to hit the United States in the history of ever, and compare it to a soda can. I don't care if it is like a soda can. Talk about it in your closed door meetings, but don't tell people it's like a soda can. It's kind of like saying that retrieving tar balls is like an Easter egg hunt.
Third, did you really just sit there in your $800 suit and your $150 shirt in front of your burnished BP flower logo in your cushy conference room and say there is nobody who is more devastated than you? And nobody wants to shut this off more than you? Behold... I submit to you people who might just be a little more devastated than you are. Just something to consider before you go spouting off like a soda can.
If corporations are people, as the Supreme Court seems to think they are, then BP's executives need some jail time. And BP as an entity deserves the death penalty. But a quick gaze into our Alaskan crystal ball tells us they'll end up paying a bit to clean up 8-10% of the mess they make, call it a day, draw the punitive damages out in court for 20 years until one in four plaintiffs is dead, whine about the interest, and use Supreme Court precedent from Baker v. Exxon to whittle their liability down to next to nothing.
Forgive us BP if we don't apologize for hurting your feelings.
The video clip above features Dr. Ricki Ott who traveled to the Gulf region from Alaska, and is sharing her expertise from the Exxon Valdez oil spill with those who need to understand not only what has happened, but what's coming.
Conservatives -- do you still think the government should stay out of business' way? Any thoughts on regulation? And has the free market cleaned up that oil yet? Just wondering.
Follow Jeanne Devon (AKMuckraker) on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Mudflats