BP oil spill is ranked as the largest environmental disaster in the world history. As the oil from BP spill washes ashore, people on Gulf Coast are suffering huge damages they have never met before. The U. S. government estimates that up to 60,000 barrels of oil a day are spewing out from the damaged BP drilling rig to Gulf of Mexico. It has ruined the shoreline, killed animal and sea life, threaten the ecosystem and harmed the tourism and fishing in Louisiana. After the spilling happened, US government and BP has been struggling for plugging the hole deep under the water which is known as Top-kill, but failed. Right after the leak happened, the Obama administration has claimed that BP alone has to take the whole responsibility of the oil spill. However, as the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico continues to grow day by day, some people are starting to ask if President Obama will be blamed for the damage that will result on the shoreline of the Gulf coast? He failed to protect US waters and people who depend on them. Also, his administration had failed to adequately reform the Minerals Management Service, the scandal-ridden federal agency that for years had essentially allowed the oil industry to do what it planed under self-regulation. There have been people who said that the Obama Administration did not react fast enough and slack in fixing the crisis. BP definitely bears the responsibility of the deep water disaster, but is it the only entity involved in the largest off shore oil spill in US history? In this paper, I shall argue that it is not just BP that bears responsibility for spill, Obama administration is responsible too. BP: Surely they have to pay all of the damages suffered around Gulf Coast since they have violated the morality in many ways. Firstly, the deepwater disaster is partly due to the company’s own shortage in engineering testing. According to due care theory, manufactures’ responsibility would extend to three areas including design, production and information. The key problem caused leaking is that BP has not exercised enough due care on production area. “The production manager should control the manufacturing processes so as to eliminate any defective items, identify any weakness that become apparent during production. ”(Manuel 2006). BP failed to follow safety regulations as a matter of fact. Right after the spill happened, BP’s diplomat has claimed that there was no one to blame, even the people who worked in the pipe line, their jobs were normally done. If you look for mistakes, you will find some. It was just a freak accident that was not expected from the situation. However, as the investigation went further, more and more evidence has been shown that it was not an accident but negligence. They didn’t do proper testing, for example, BP halted tests on the well lining five days before the explosion and kept oilfield testing firm Schlumberger on standby, according to NOLA. It had no plans to conduct a cement bond log test, which uses Sonics to identify weaknesses in the cement, known as a gold standard test. Also, Oil rig worker Mike Mason told Huffington Post he observed cheating on blowout preventer tests at least 100 times, including on wells owned by BP. In many cases, Mason says, BP employees were present while subcontractors faked the tests. Obviously, the systems failed and failed badly. BP violated the duty of exercising adequate quality controls over high-tech materials which caused the leaking happened. In addition, BP continually disregards safety and morality for profits. They are against Common sense morality by harming lives around Gulf Coast, for instance, shrimpers and small hotel owner loss their jobs for surviving; a large number of species’ live are threatened. According to Kant theory about “respect for person” , BP did morally wrong since they did not put human beings in the first , instead, what they are looking for is only the profits. BP has a duty to defend the environment they are working with. Referred to Kantian theory, humans have a correlative duty to respect and promote the development of another’s capacity to freely and rationally choose for him. For BP, when they tried to save the cost on drilling, it destroyed the development of others. What they have done is a violation of people’s negative right because people are forced to ruin their career and their normal life. Referred to The Social Cost View, Manufacturer should pay the costs of all injuries caused by defect in a product even if exercised due care. Thus, BP should pay for all of the damages suffered in Golf area. However, it is argued that offshore oil drilling is inherently dirty and dangerous, and the government must establish a permanent moratorium on it in order to protect the citizens living around. But government did not do their job enough. BP should pay for the bill for its recklessness, while Obama government should take some responsibility at the same time. Obama Administration First, According to Bradford (2010), Obama’s original decision to pursue drilling made the drill more likely to happen. Back to 2008, Democrats had a serious oil problem, gas price were soaring toward $4 per gallon. Pressure had been put on President Obama to respond. In August, he announced he would support new offshore exploration as part of a broader mix of climate and cleaning energy policy. He nominated Ken Salazar to take in charge of this program. And in March of this year, the administration announced a plan to expand offshore oil production. It was intended to get away from the rising gas price this summer and avoid repeat insanity in 2008 summer. Soon after, BP oil spill exploded and millions of gallons of crude started spewing out of Gulf of Mexico. Secondly, Obama administration failed to crack down on the corruption of Bush years-and let the world’s most dangerous oil company get away with murder. Referred to Bradford (2010), the scandal at Minerals Management Service (MMS) is lurid, for example, Employees in the Royalty-collecting wing has been taking thousands of dollars worth of gifts from the oil company they are supposed to oversee. As a result, company has been getting offshore –drilling permits with little scrutiny. For instance, in April of last year, less than a month after BP submitted its application, MMS gave the oil giant the drilling permitting in the Gulf without a comprehensive environmental review. The one-page approval put no restrictions on BP, issuing only a mild suggestion that would prove prescient: "Exercise caution while drilling due to indications of shallow gas. " Government should not get away from being negligence. Based on Kantian theory, human being should be treated as ends and never used merely as means. It means that each individual has a moral right to be treated as a free person equal to any other person. MMS scandal violates this principle. BP, for example, they will more easily get drilling go-ahead than others due to being an oil giant or offering those managers with high value gift. If it spread, it will definitely slow down US economy. What we have seen so far is the huge disaster from oil spilling. What’s more, Dickson (2010) stated that the administration failed to ensure that BP was well prepared in case some unexpected accident happened. On the surface, a lack of ships and equipment has left more than 100 miles of the coast-including vast stretches of fragile marshlands — covered in crude. Obama has been putting so much trust on oil giants; he said “I was wrong in my belief that the oil companies had their act together when it came to worst-case scenarios. (Dickson 2010) Thus, his administration should bear the responsibility due to regulation failure. In addition, someone has argued that BP and other oil companies use tier wealth and power to influence government and their policies regarding alternate food, so the blame should be put on BP. I shall argue that the influence and misleading happened is because the government is lack of oil knowledge and experience. In conclusion, it is not fair to let BP alone take the responsibility. In the today’s world, government becomes stronger; they are involved in everything that crucial to the society. As the power gets bigger, their responsibility has expanded at the same time. Also, it is not the first time US has experienced the energy crisis, but there is nothing the administration is doing to end the nation’s thirst for foreign oil. Thus, the responsibility has to be broken down for both Oil Company and government. Bibliography Bradford, Plumer. “Morning-After Drill” The New Republic 241 Jul. 2010: 8-10 Dickson, Kim. “The Spill, the Scandal and the President Rolling Stone 1107 Jun 2010:54-63 Manuel G. Velasquez. Business Ethics. Toronto : Pearson, 2006 BP oil spill Student number: 3929403 Student name: Jian Yan Seminar: Fri. 3-4
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