One thing that has bothered me since the disaster in the Gulf happened in April, and the 47 days since, is that the company fouling our waters and destroying the economies of the Gulf Coast states is from England. It's CEO, who's all over our televisions, is a Brit reading an infuriating script prepared by his London based PR folks. The drilling company that operated the Deepwater Horizon is from Switzerland. The Horizon was registered in the Marshall Islands, and all of its rigs are foreign flagged. The company who cemented the well has its headquarters and CEO based in Dubai. Being a multi-national major, BP plc itself is beyond the reach of US authority as is Halliburton's CEO. Many of the other support companies and boats are also based in other countries.
Setting aside the inexcusable blowout and the woefully inadequate response, it's clear that BP's only allegiance is to its shareholders on the London Stock Exchange, not the US government or taxpayers. Many of its subsidiaries are based in tax havens, allowing them to not pay their fair share of US taxes. Revenues from Transocean's rigs are tax sheltered by their foreign ownership, and their wage, health, and inspection standards are often lower than US flagged vessels.
The result is that we have foreign companies on foreign vessels using our water and our land to generate tax sheltered profits. They have killed 11 of our good citizens, fouled our waters, killed countless wildlife, and destroyed our Gulf Coast economies. Their CEOs and shareholders are generally out of our reach. That's simply not right.
So, in addition to my other recommendations for reforming offshore drilling, I have one more...
New Rule: You drill here, you live here. No foreign owned corporation may own the majority of, or operate, any federal lease, including onshore and offshore. All rigs drilling in US waters must be US flagged, meet US safety and wage standards, and pay US taxes. No foreign based or controlled service company may work on well on US wells. All corporations owning or servicing these wells must be managed by CEOs who are permanently based in the US.
We can no longer afford to outsource our critical resources or precious lands to those who have no skin in our game. A key part of drilling regulation reform must have companies exploring on US property answering to US citizens for their actions.
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