Washington and BP — ‘Like a Junkie Controlling His Dealer’

Thursday, May 27, 2010
By Paul Martin

DerSpiegel.de

It took a little over a month, but over the weekend oil leaking from the BP wellhead on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico began clogging the sensitive ecosystems in the Mississippi River delta. US politicians are venting, but German commentators doubt whether Washington will rein in the oil industry.
Politicians in Washington are getting nervous. With attempt after attempt to seal the leaking BP oil well on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico having failed, a number of government officials ramped up the rhetoric over the weekend in an effort to up the pressure on the oil giant.

“I am angry and I am frustrated,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on Sunday. “We are 33 days into this effort, and deadline after deadline has been missed.” He also suggested that the federal government might take over from BP should the oil company not do enough to stop the leak.

In addition, Congress is considering a bill that would quadruple a tax on oil that goes toward cleaning up spills — to 32 cents a barrel.

Frustration is growing overseas as well. Cem Özdemir, head of the German Green Party, called for a boycott of BP in a newspaper interview published on Tuesday. “It is in the hands of consumers to express their displeasure with BP through their buying patterns,” he told the Hamburger Abendblatt. He accused BP of disinformation and of trying to play down the damage caused by the ongoing oil leak.

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