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The Gulf: Captured By Our Creations

By Jim Selman | Bio

We’re all witnessing the horrifying disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.  Most of us are running the gauntlet of emotions from sadness to anger. There is a lot of handwringing as the Gulf Coast girds itself for yet another devastating blow. It is not clear if this will be worse than Katrina, but that possibility looms large. We can rebuild after a hurricane. The damage from an oil spill of this magnitude can last for decades—or for all eternity.

No doubt British Petroleum will pay. The Valdez cost Exxon upwards of $5B I’m told. Since these costs get passed on, the fact is that, at the end of the day, we all pay.

Following the Valdez, I was hired by one of Exxon’s subsidiaries to craft an alcohol and drug policy. We worked with about a hundred individuals representing a cross-section of the company from the CEO to ship captains and union representatives to office workers. Over eight weeks, we debated the ‘rules’

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