I have been watching Iris Cross, the smiling face of BP’s “community outreach” as she walks along a Gulf Coast shore, informing television audiences of the energy company’s efforts to “make things right” in the region where they had helped create so much havoc. I have searched high and low for an email address for Ms. Cross (yes, I know there is an 800 number but just not for her) and so I have just decided to post my letter of admiration here.

Oh, I know she’ll never read it, but at least it’s out of my system. Oh, what am I saying?

Dear Ms. Cross,

I have been seeing the BP spots which seem to run nightly during the news, and I have a few questions.

I am glad that the area is enjoying the “ . . . best tourism season in years . . .” as you say, even though others who live there may disagree with you. And I am very happy to to hear you say that BP will pay for all “ . . . spill-related costs . . .” even though the graphics actually say, “ . . .paying all legitimate clean-up costs . . .”

As someone who has a little experience in television, I am aware of the editing process; I have no doubt that BP truly does intend to pay for all spill-related costs. Perhaps you should have a few strong words with the person who added the word “legitimate” as it makes your ad seem a little less than, well, legitimate.

I wish, though, that you had looked over the ad yourself before it ran on television. I am sure you would have caught the error.

I also understand that not all the beaches are actually open, as you tell us. Again, you need to have some strict words with those in the company who have so badly let you down.

And the shrimp harvests have been been pretty awful this year, I understand.

I suppose, though, that the main subject of my letter to you is this:

In addition to the environmental damage the Deepwater Horizon incident created for the Gulf region, 11 working men lost their lives.

Yes, people die at work all the time (well, those who punch a time clock, anyway) but at least most of the time we know where their bodies can be found.

But these 11 men?

Financial compensation to families is grand, but what is BP doing to help in the investigation and eventual criminal prosecution of anyone who may have been responsible for this incident?

April 20 will mark the second anniversary of their deaths.

Well, it has been nice sharing my thoughts with you. I know that you are busy, especially now that you may be scheduling a meeting with that video editor who added the word “legitimate” to your commercial, making it seem a liitle intellectually dishonest.

And I know you’ll want to check on those beaches, too.

I was going to bring up that long ago (well not that long ago, actually) affair when it was suggested you may have engaged in jury tampering before case began of the 2005 BP refinery explosion that killed 15 workers.

I know that you have been busy, but this was the time when you and your superior admitted that you had signed thousands of letters which were sent out to Texans just before the civil trial began.

The letters were aimed at polishing BP’s image. The judge in the trial called it a “stunt” on the part of you and your boss.

So it be unfair of me to write more about that, I suppose. But I am struck my one thing. 11 + 15 = 26

26 human beings died in the service of BP and you can still smile.

Have a nice day.


Richard S. Drake


Quote of the Day

I’ve never met a person, I don’t care what his condition, in whom I could not see possibilities. I don’t care how much a man may consider himself a failure, I believe in him, for he can change the thing that is wrong in his life at any time he is ready and prepared to do it. Whenever he develops the desire, he can take away from his life the thing that is defeating it. The capacity for reformation and change lies within. — Preston Bradley