Ex-US President George Bush has again angered environmental groups after comments he made during a press conference called by oil company representatives in Houston.
When asked by a reporter to comment on plans drawn up by the US coastguard to set fire to oil leaking from the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded last week in the Gulf of Mexico Mr Bush said,
"This plan's just plain stupid. What the hell's the point of having two wars in Kuwait and Iraq if all we're going to do is burn the stuff we have on our own doorstep? Why waste it? We should be collecting it and selling it."
Trey Hugger, representing Friends of the Earth, pointed out that collecting the oil would be a slow process and urgent action was needed "We have already seen thousands of rare marine mammals and birds suffering slow and painful deaths in the oil."
"Yes, I see the problem. They'll block the collection pipes." replied Mr Bush "But surely there's some way we can filter out and collect the bodies before we ship the oil off for processing."
Many of those present at the conference were left stunned and speechless by the apparent lack of compassion but Mr Bush remained blissfully unaware of the audience's reaction.
"Hell, maybe we could even make a few bucks on the side, sell the little critters as novelty oil lamps or something. If they're as rare as you say they are, we can even bump the price up a bit." joked Mr Bush.
Friends of the Earth have issued a formal statement condemning Mr Bush's statements and demanding that he immediately withdraw his remarks and make a public apology.
We were unable to contact Mr Bush for comment but a press officer at Republican headquarters informed us that "I'm sure he [Mr Bush] will deal with the statement in his normal manner. He loves making paper airplanes and is really quite good at it after his 8 years in the White House."