Heck of a job, Charlie! (Update below.)
While we sit here in Florida waiting for the oil that may come ashore along with the dispersant BP keeps spraying in spite of the EPA, we’re supposed to believe that Gov. Charlie Crist is doing everything possible for our state, or at least that’s what Charlie would have us believe.
So naturally you would think that the appointment of two former Attorney Generals to begin exploring our legal options in response to BP and the oil spill would be great news, right?
The only problem here is that one of those two attorneys was once a lobbyist for….BP!
Gov. Charlie Crist appointed the political odd couple – Democrat Bob Butterworth and Republican Jim Smith – almost two weeks ago to spearhead what could be the biggest and most complex lawsuit ever attempted by the state. So far, the beaches remain clear and a state lawsuit, if there ever is one, is nowhere in sight.
I suppose Charlie would also want us to believe that the former BP lobbyist Smith only has our best interests in mind, right?
BP has paid out more than $2 million to Floridians for individual lost-income claims, and kept most of the cases open for future payment. That’s on top of the $50 million it gave the state for emergency preparations and a tourism promotion campaign.
So far, that’s good enough for Smith.
“At this point, I’m satisfied that BP is trying to do the right thing,” Smith said. “My sense is that this thing is still unfolding. Nobody could really even assess damages at this point.”
We’re supposed to believe that “BP is trying to do the right thing?” How so, exactly Mr. Smith? Because to me, so far BP seems to be doing everything as if they were incompetent, what with that whole not planning what to do in the event of a blowout thing, and the science fair level “top hats, top kills and junk shots” that were employed to plug the gusher and failed. Not to mention the lowball estimates of how much is actually leaking and the little matter of the dispersants that are being combined with the oil turning the Gulf into a toxic waste dump.
But Smith is “satisfied” that BP, whom his lobbying firm used to represent, is doing the right thing? Hey, if you believe that, we have another attorney general who wants to spend your money to take away your health care that you’re supposed to be “satisfied” with too! Bill McCollum.
That’s not good enough for environmentalists who see only foot-dragging and politics as usual. They complain that Smith wasn’t a good choice to direct the legal charge because he was a registered BP lobbyist on and off between 2001 and 2005.
Smith acknowledges that his lobbying firm, one of the largest and most influential in the state, represented BP, but that he had no personal involvement with that client and has no loyalty to it today. He said he only registered as a BP lobbyist out of an abundance of caution.
The environmentalists want the state to haul BP into court now, and force it to pay for more booms and skimmers so Florida will be better prepared than Louisiana if and when the devastation rolls ashore.
The $25 million BP paid to help local governments prepare area contingency plans is a drop in the bucket, the critics charge. They also point out that last week, when BP CEO Tony Hayward traveled to Louisiana, he acknowledged that the company didn’t do enough to protect the beaches.
So I guess with potential disaster on the horizon, before long we’ll be saying:
“Heck of a job, Charlie!