From Paul Ulrich, a spokesman for EnCana Corp., on their unceasing dedication to the safety of Wyoming’s oil workers:
The notion that operators don’t do everything they can every day [to ensure safety] is ludicrous.
No doubt. But on the off chance that they could do just a wee bit more if they were properly motivated, some of Wyoming’s oil workers think they should have the right to sue for injuries or deaths that are caused by negligence. The problem, if I’m reading this story correctly, is that they actually work for independent operators, not the oil companies themselves — but operators are legally immune from lawsuits and courts have ruled that oil companies are liable for workplace injuries only if they actually run the workplace. Technically, though, the operators run things. So no one is responsible. Neat.
In any case, my guess is that tighter safety regulation would be more effective than lawsuits, but I think I can guess what the operators and oil companies think of that idea too. In the meantime, state representative Roy Cohee says workers should pound sand: “They took a high-risk job. Are they willing to assume some of the consequences when they’re injured?” I wonder if he then called over his butler to fetch him a cigar? Cohee obviously missed his calling as a pious industrial baron in Victorian England.