This month British Petroleum’s CEO Tony Hayward sat on Capitol Hill before a house panel for over seven hours yet managed to answer practically nothing. His response to queries put to him by law makers were feebly answered in a vague manner, giving him the ability to skirt issues and shirk responsibility. “I can’t answer that question”; “I can’t recall”; “That’s a decision I was not party to” and “I don’t know.” While it’s all very fascinating that Mr. Hayward has managed to retain his position as CEO of a trillion dollar corporation without having a single clue what is going on, the American people are less than pleased and are demanding answers for the largest ecological disaster the world has ever seen.

Hayward went on to say, “I’m not stonewalling. I simply was not involved in the decision-making process” after he was questioned by Democrat Henry Waxman of California. Naturally these answers infuriated the committee who couldn’t understand why BP is treating this like a murder trial. Their lack of cooperation only further incriminates the oil giant, as they have failed to credibly answer questions about the disaster, and this massive brush-off seems like an evasion of responsibility, when in reality, they should wholly devote their efforts to working with them on a solution. One theory is that BP is going to try to skirt legal responsibility by saying that their American Subsidy (only worth 50 Billion) is the only part of the company that can be held responsible.

In a rarely seen bit of bipartisanship, Republicans also grilled the slippery BP Exec who went so far as to say (quite rudely, in fact), “I had no prior knowledge of the drilling of this well: none whatsoever. With respect, sir, we drill hundreds of wells a year around the world,” Hayward said.

“That’s what’s scaring me now,” retorted Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas.

BP does, however, still have some friends in Washington who remain in their deep pockets. Congressmen like Republican Joe Barton of Texas, who actually had the audacity to apologize to BP, made outrageous statements, saying he thought the BP compensation fund that the White House forced the corporation to establish was a “$20 billion shakedown,” and “I’m ashamed of what happened in the White House”. Barton, who consequently has received over $120,000 in campaign donations from big oil in the past year alone (the second highest of anyone on the panel), is one of the politicians who seems to have purchased his integrity from a gas station. For these actions alone, he should be thrown out on his ear from Congress, unable to ever again practice politics, having put the welfare of the people as well as the planet in the back seat of his gas guzzler. Anyone who has been bought off so solidly by special interest that he supports a giant earth-ruining foreign company over their own local citizens should not be allowed to represent his or her people any longer. He obviously does not have our best interest at heart any longer, and as such, he has lost his ability to lead and represent.

The truth is that there is absolutly no reason for Hayward or Barton to be stonewalling the Gulf recovery. The fact is that BP reports 20 billion dollars in profits annually, has 6 billion in cash, and some some 18 billion barrels of proven oil reserves worth $1.2 trillion at current prices. This basically means they can more than afford to stop this leak, clean up the Gulf, and pay back all the people they put out of work in the Gulf states. BP skirted regulation, bribed regulators and lied about safety protocol, so the least they can do is man-up and take the responsibility like an adult instead of trying to gear up for a legal battle to release themselves of the financial responsibility of a catastrophe which they so clearly caused.

America is done with this Chronic Arrogance and wants answers. How much oil is actually leaking? Where is it most likely to spread to? What are the long-term environmental effects of a spill this size? Why the hell is representative Barton selling out the American people for 100 Gs, and most importantly, when is this leak going to stop? Until these questions are answered and we start to see some real action in the Gulf by BP, their CEO Tony Howard should be indefinitely detained in a federal prison for contempt of Congress. As for Mr. Barton who takes the side of a giant foreign corporation over the American People he should be removed from Capitol Hill and be subject to punishment: perhaps being publicly tarred and feathered like in the Colonial times would set an example for future greed-mongers who choose to line their pockets rather than protect the precious planet…He is a disgrace. Acceptance of this Chronic Arrogance is something we must not allow or become accustomed to. The Gulf states and the people of this country deserve better.

-Patrick Zarrelli