Melissa Harris-Perry | March 03, 2013
>>> even before the bp oil spill became an environmental disaster , it was a human tragedy. the 11 men who were killed on april 20th , 2010 when the deep water horizon drilling rig exploded were more than just workers. to their families they were fathers and husbands and sons, and no trial or amount of money awarded can fill the void for their loved ones. back at the table, sarah and brentin, l.joy and mike. all right, folks. brentin, this is real. the 11 people died, but then also thousands of workers out of work. how do you replace or make reparation for that?
>> well, there's no dollar that you can put on, you know, all that was lost in the gulf coast . no way you can put a dollar on lives lost, how that impacts families and how that impacts communities. also, when you look at the greatest impact across the cost, let's talk about the fact that poverty jumped up 33% between the time of the disaster and all the way through 2011 . this is an already impoverished region that just suffered a great deal of poverty across the gulf coast , so now what we're trying to transition to is a restoration economy, you know, where we get the money from bp , and this is right at $45 billion to $50 billion is so important, so that money comes back and those jobs can be creative for environmental restoration , and economists right now are saying that 36 jobs can be made for every $1 million invested in environmental restoration across the coast. this is a chance to real turn the coast around and restore beauty and health.
>> this is not a small deal. i was looking at this letter to small state governors saying there were possibly as many as 78,000 new jobs but those jobs would be over the course of 50 years, and the fact is people in the short term they have families to feed. they have got taxes to pay and all the things they have to do, and in the short term you say it's a lot of jobs and it's over 50 years. how could i right now create an economy that starts to put back to work all of these the folks, particularly if you start to pull out those oil and gas jobs, the deep water jobs.
>> i mean, this is an excellent opportunity to really just start transitioning our economy to a green economy . we already see the disasters in the havoc that's been wreaked on the environment and the climate because of the oil and gas industry , so this is an excellent opportunity, you know, for money to be used to transition, you know, skills so that people can learn how to create the wind farms , the solar panel industries and really just start to restore the environment. this is long overdue. i mean, the environment has been completely devastated across the gulf going back decades, far before the bp oil disaster.
>> that's one of the things, you know, for those of us who lived through, you know, isaac recently or the folks who were there for katrina. this is not just -- it is about the edo koji, but that edo koji impacts human beings at all these different levels.
>> you're talking about 640,000 jobs and $210 billion in wages for recreation and tourism alone alone, not talking about just the oil and gas industry . there's an opportunity to create a new environmentally beneficial economy because the environment in that region underlies the economy and every dime that bp pace that can go to environmental restoration should go to environmental restoration because that's economic recovery in the long run of the let me tell you why. the coast of louisiana every 38 minutes loses land the size of a football field to open water .
>> so it's not about a choice between the economy and the environment. you have to have a strong, healthy resilient gulf in order to have a strong economy, and to protect it from hurricanes like you talked about. isaac brought up 565,000 more pounds of oil material from the deep water horizon oil spill .
>> so the impacts are there. they are real. you still have dolphins dying in an unusually high number.
>> you have shrimp with tumors when the shrimping industry is a key aspect of sort of what sustains those gulf coast communities.
>> that's right. but, you know, there is a silver lining to this. it's not like we should throw our hands up in the air and walk away from the give. we know the gulf is resilient, and if you restore it and restore the estuaries and create the barrier island and rebuild land rather than losing land, then you benefit the environment in the long term and the economy in the long term.
>> when i hear this argument, it's one that i think the left, you know, the greens, they say, look, there is a new way to build corporate profits. there's a new way to build a strong and sustainable economy , but there's a lot of sort of irate, eyebrow-raising and critique of that argument, particularly on the right, no, there's instuff jobs in this way.
>> well, there's a huge amount of unemployment out there so this is a great way to get money off the sidelines and get it investing creating jobs. it's worth to going back to what buddy said in the difficulty of regulating this up front. a lot of capture and political money and why it's so important to watch this trial because this is ultimately the last form of regu enforcements and a lot of industry capture of a lot of regular industry industries and the laws themselves are derelaxed and dispersed across many states. however, tort laws you said earlier, but the civil court system is the last chance of redress, and the other thing is we're talking about, you know, $20 billion and so on and so forth, it's really difficult to get an accurate measure of the true cost of things. people will tally up things they can measure and human suffering, third offered of poverty that has skyrocketed because of all the industry collapse that's very difficult to put a price tag on. no matter what number we put on, especially decades from now when we learn about the real health and environmental capacity it's probably too small.
>> i don't want to move too quickly past this. explain again just for folks whom this might be a buzz phrase , what regulatory capture is, why that's a problem in had context.
>> we have very weak laws in terms of regulating offshore drilling , and the other -- the laws need to be enforced so there's regulatory agencies and people accountable to the public, public employees to go out and enforce the laws. now, a lot of times there's really obvious what we call capture where the industries own up owning the regulators and telling them what to do. obvious things where there's a revolving door where people will go from a regular industry agency to the company.
>> there's bags of cash issue which are real and very important, but there's a much more subtle capture, where regulators identify with the people that they are identifying, more like their shareholders and supposed to be embodying the public.
>> like regulatory stockholm syndrome and, therefore, the capture. i think part of what i want to come back to here is brentin's point about this sense of the human impact that goes on third order poverty, all of this. is there a way that we can start reimagining how we call or whether or not we call business successful on something other than the bottom lines but more on how they contribute to sort of the broader human community in which they find themselves.
>> i think in society we have to value those corporations and those business owners who look beyond their profits, you know, and we have to hold them up, and this is a critique on our society, you know. we hold a poem that make a lot of money and make quick money and there's billions of dollars and they have, you know, jets, and we focus everything on how much money they make and how much power they wield as opposed to valuing the corporations and the small business owners who not only make profit and successful in business but also our contributors to their local economy , to creating jobs, creating a safe work environment and being a real contributor to society and community, and we have to do a better job in saying that we value those corporations who see hem selves as more as just money-makers and how much money we can give our stockholders, and we are a holistic company that cares about our employees, cares about profits, yes, but also cares about our greatest society.
>> give me a good idea. do the foot soldiers on saturday. make me want to do small foot soldiers. i like this idea that we need to re-imagine the corporations that we think of as valuable, and we're going to stay on exactly that topic, because there is another big economic narrative about what we need to do and what kinds of companies we should hold up, and it's about that xcel pipeline. remember that? have we learned nothing at