Three More Reasons for the President to Take Control over BP’s Gulf Operation

1. Why hasn’t BP moved more of its rigs and tankers to the site? Because BP’s first responsibility is to maximize shareholder value, and moving more rigs and tankers would be too expensive. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the government’s man on the scene, said BP (BP) planned to move another rig to the spill site June 14, which would enable the company to boost its capacity to collect oil from the ruptured well to 28,000 barrels (1.18 million gallons/4.45 million liters) a day.

2. Why isn’t BP leveling with the American people about how many barrels of oil is gushing into the Gulf? Because BP’s first responsibility is to its shareholders, and a bigger leak means more liability. Government scientists estimate the leak spews 12,000-19,000 barrels a day, with one estimate as high as 25,000 barrels. BP says it’s not nearly this much.

3. Why isn’t BP acknowledging a huge plume of oil developing deep under water? Ditto. On Tuesday, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers reported subsurface oil as far as 142 miles from the leaking Gulf well, the first clear confirmation of such a plume. On Wednesday, BP rejected the report, insisting that it has not found any significant concentration of crude under the surface. “We haven’t found any large concentrations of oil under the sea. To my knowledge, no one has,” BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said on NBC’s TODAY show.

About Robert Reich 545 Articles

Robert Reich is the nation's 22nd Secretary of Labor and a professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

He has served as labor secretary in the Clinton administration, as an assistant to the solicitor general in the Ford administration and as head of the Federal Trade Commission's policy planning staff during the Carter administration.

He has written eleven books, including The Work of Nations, which has been translated into 22 languages; the best-sellers The Future of Success and Locked in the Cabinet, and his most recent book, Supercapitalism. His articles have appeared in the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. Mr. Reich is co-founding editor of The American Prospect magazine. His weekly commentaries on public radio’s "Marketplace" are heard by nearly five million people.

In 2003, Mr. Reich was awarded the prestigious Vaclev Havel Foundation Prize, by the former Czech president, for his pioneering work in economic and social thought. In 2005, his play, Public Exposure, broke box office records at its world premiere on Cape Cod.

Mr. Reich has been a member of the faculties of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and of Brandeis University. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College, his M.A. from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and his J.D. from Yale Law School.

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