Testimony before congress earlier this week by executives for the three companies at the center of the catastrophic Gulf Coast oil spill played out like a three-ring circus.
The trio acted like a trio of schoolchildren caught by the teacher and sent to the principal's office for discipline. When asked to account for their actions, the first points to the second, the second to the third and the third points back to the first.
"Let me be really clear," Lamar McKay, chairman of BP America, told the lawmakers. "Liability, blame, fault – put it over there." For McKay, "over there" meant the witness table which included BP, Transocean and Halliburton executives.
Round and round we go.
With the crisis still unfolding and the full scope of the disaster still yet to be known on the Louisiana coast, we wonder why the urgency to hold congressional hearings at this time. The ongoing battle to save the environment should be foremost among officials in Washington, not getting facetime to score political points. Apparently, U.S. congressmen feel that hearing executives from BP America, Transocean and Halliburton trade jabs and finger-point is more important than committing all resources to the immediate threat facing Louisiana's fragile islands and barrier marshes.
The April 20 blast that killed 11 workers has already poured millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf. One fact that did surface from the hearings was the lack of federal oversight and regulation when the well platforms are constructed.