Coming Soon to Minnesota Mining Industry: Former BP CEO Tony Hayward?

Tony Hayward testifies on Capitol Hill, June 2010 (via Flickr's EnergyCommerce)

Former BP CEO Tony Hayward reportedly has been hired, and I am not making this up, as the head of environment and safety at Glencore, a multinational mining and commodities trading company. Hayward’s next stop could be in Minnesota, reports

Tony Hayward has been recently hired by a company called Glencore. Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of it. It has been trying for years to be invisible to the naked eye. It was briefly in the news back in the Clinton years when its founder, Marc Rich, violated federal law by trading oil with Iran and went on the FBI’s most wanted list. Things cooled off fairly quickly because President Clinton pardoned Rich as Bill was on the way out of the White House door. Rich was, well, rich. He gave money to the Clinton campaign. I’m not saying. I’m just saying.

So Glencore ends up being one of the biggest, if not the biggest, commodities traders in the world. It handles everything from metals to fuel and has operations all over the globe. It doesn’t have a very nice record in some parts of the world where it has been accused of mistreatment of workers, pollution and very much worse. Now Glencore is putting its money in northern Minnesota. It is has just become the principal investor in a mining operation planned for Hoyt Lakes. […]

Iron mining and northern Minnesota have gone hand in glove for a century. But the proposed PolyMet mine in Hoyt Lakes is a different animal. It is called hardrock sulfide mining. It will be going after copper and nickel and precious metals. It promises jobs in a job-starved part of our state. But there are two things you should know about hardrock sulfide mining. The first thing is that the Environmental Protection Agency says hardrock mining generates more toxic waste than any other sector of the U.S. economy. The second thing you should know is that the history of this sort of mining shows that when the metals run out, the companies decamp. The real pollution starts after they leave with the winnings, go broke, or sell out.

To recap quickly: Tony Hayward was at the helm of BP when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank in a preventable disaster that spilled more than 200 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, a disaster that’s still being felt by the Gulf’s communities and wildlife. BP repeatedly misstated the size of the disaster and Hayward become a symbol of British Petroleum’s remarkable combination of arrogance and incompetence, first declaring he wanted the Gulf oil disaster over so he could have his cushy life back, then enjoying a day on a yacht while oil washed ashore in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Hayward was forced out as BP CEO, but the company kept him on and deployed him to Russia. When last heard from,  Hayward was cutting a deal to drill for oil in an Arctic wildlife haven.

Now Hayward is being put in charge of “environment and safety” in one of America’s most toxic industries? What could go wrong?

Via Kate Sheppard