Defending BP?

It’s hard to generate much sympathy for BP.  Their operation led to an explosion that killed several people and is now pouring countless amounts of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.   I understand President Obama’s desire to make them pay, and I see where they really couldn’t put up much of a fuss about setting aside $20 billion to help out those who are being hurt by this catastrophe.

Tourism, the fishing industry, and related businesses are being hit hard by all of this.  People are struggling to get through this.  BP is responsible, so BP should pay.  I’m glad the President has a plan in place.  However, I saw a news report that says that President Obama has shut down a bunch of other oil rigs in the Gulf, pending a safety review.  While this seems like a really good idea, these other rigs could be shut down for up to six months even if ultimately there are no problems found.  Most businesses couldn’t pay their employees if they had to shut down operations for six months.  The President has said this is okay because BP will take care of it.

I’m not sure that’s fair.  I say hold BP responsible for what BP has done.  But if the President is concerned about how other companies are taking care of their business, that’s not BP’s fault.

I imagine it’s going to be popular with a lot of people to stick it to BP, but do we know yet if BP was criminal or negligent (or criminally negligent)?  Even if they did bad stuff on purpose, criminals get due process, don’t they?  Earlier an official for the Obama Administration talked about “putting (his) boot on the neck of BP.”  Now really, can you imagine what critics would say if a Bush Administration official had made a comment like that about an American business?

It’d be nice if we could just plug the leak, clean up the mess, and let the legal system run its course.