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BP CEO's Most Ridiculous Statements on the Gulf Disaster

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OnEarth logoBP CEO Tony Hayward apologized on Facebook for a "hurtful and thoughtless comment" he made over the weekend, when he said: "There's no one who wants this over more than I do. I'd like my life back." (Watch the video.)

Hayward appeared to be trying, at the time, to apologize to the people of the Gulf Coast for destroying their lives and livelihoods. But by making it all about himself, he continued the string of flatfooted, insensitive, and downright deceptive statements made by BP executives since the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform in late April, which killed 11 workers and led to the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

Hayward himself has been the worst culprit. Slate called him "The Bumbler from BP." Just like he can't stop the oil from gushing out of the seafloor, Hayward apparently can't stop "hurtful and thoughtless comments" from gushing out of his mouth. Here are some of the most ridiculous:

>> "The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean," Hayward told The Guardian on May 14. "The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume." His statement came at the same time that independent scientists were offering strong evidence that BP and the government were continuing to vastly underestimate the size of the disaster. (Never mind that the Gulf isn't an ocean.)

>> "It was a bit bumpy to get it going. We made a few little mistakes early on,'' Hayward said in the same interview, acknowledging that the company erred when requiring fishermen who wanted to help with the relief effort to sign agreements limiting any future damages they could receive from BP.

>> "I think the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to have been very, very modest," Hayward told Sky News on May 18. We know how that one turned out: This week, President Obama proclaimed the spill the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

>> "The oil is on the surface. There aren't any plumes," Hayward told The Associated Press on May 30, even as scientists from the University of South Florida, the University of Georgia, Southern Mississippi University, and other institutions were reporting evidence of massive underwater oil plumes -- including one 22 miles long, six miles wide, and more than a thousand feet deep.

>> "I'm sure they were genuinely ill, but whether it was anything to do with dispersants and oil, whether it was food poisoning or some other reason for them being ill," Hayward told CNN on May 30 in response to relief workers being treated for illnesses apparently related to breathing oil fumes and dispersants.

>> "Almost nothing has escaped," Hayward told the Financial Times (registration required) on May 15. Do we even need to comment on that one?

>> "What the hell did we do to deserve this?" Hayward said to fellow BP executives, as reported in the New York Times on April 29. Folks on the Gulf keep asking themselves the same thing.

This post originally appeared at NRDC's OnEarth magazine, where you can find ongoing coverage of the Gulf Coast disaster.

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