Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Congress Accuses BP CEO of "Kicking Can Down the Road"

Lawmakers met with the CEO of BP yesterday, grilling Tony Hayward about his company and the moves it made that led to the Gulf oil spill. Hayward noted before Congress that he was not aware of problems with the well until it actually saw problems and noted, "I’m not stonewalling." Infuriated, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle took turns kicking Hayward around – all for public consumption of course – and shared their sound bites in the process. As for Hayward, he was clearly contrite and said at one point, "I am so devastated with this accident."

At one point, when Hayward claimed he was unaware with problems, he defended himself by noting, "With respect, sir, we drill hundreds of wells a year around the world." Michael Burgess, R-Texas, responded, "Yes, I know. That’s what’s scaring me right now." Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Georgia noted, "I think you’re copping out. You’re the captain of the ship." Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, was more direct, noting, "BP blew it. You cut corners to save money and time."

Perhaps the most colloquial response, however, came from Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, who at one point interrupted the CEO to say, "You’re kicking the can down the road and acting as if you had nothing to do with this company and nothing to do with the decisions. I find that irresponsible." Hayward replied, "I’m not stonewalling. I simply was not involved in the decision-making process." In fairness to Hayward, it is highly unlikely that a CEO would make decisions about cement engineering and related nuances of his company’s business, though it was interesting to see members of Congress – liars, cheaters and thieves all – have a field day with someone who at present is even less popular than they are.