For Immediate Release, March 31, 2014
Contact: Jaclyn Lopez, (727) 490-9190, firstname.lastname@example.org
After Yet Another BP Oil Spill Disaster, Obama Administration Petitioned to Stop Doing Business With Troubled Company
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— After yet another BP oil spill, the Center for Biological Diversity today petitioned the Obama administration to stop doing government business with the British multinational, which has a long and troubled history of harming the environment and jeopardizing public health. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, following 2010’s Deepwater Horizon disaster, only recently allowed BP to begin engaging in government contracts, including the ability to bid on oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico. Less than two weeks later, on March 24, BP’s refinery in Whiting, Ind., spilled oil into Lake Michigan.
“Time and again BP has shown it can’t do business without putting people and wildlife at serious risk. How many more spills will it take for the Obama administration to say enough is enough?” said Jaclyn Lopez, a Florida-based attorney at the Center. “The Deepwater Horizon disaster was just four years ago, and now BP’s being invited back into the Gulf? It’s hard to see how that’s good for America, our coastlines and waters, or anyone who relies on healthy oceans and beaches.”
The Center today petitioned the EPA to suspend or debar BP from getting government contracts; regulations allow the EPA to protect the public interest by ensuring that the federal government only does business with responsible companies. EPA had suspended BP and 21 of its subsidiaries following the Deepwater Horizonincident, which resulted in the deaths of 11 workers in an explosion and spilled more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. BP sued the EPA for exercising this authority, the EPA and BP reached an agreement to lift the suspension and allow BP to once again participate in government contracts.
BP is no stranger to administrative, civil or criminal justice systems. BP North America was debarred and fined $62 million following a March 2005 explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery that resulted in the deaths of 15 workers. In 2006 the Department of Justice found BP’s Alaska subsidiary criminally negligent in knowingly allowing the conditions of a pipeline to deteriorate that led to largest oil spill on Alaska’s North Slope. In 2008, while BP was still on criminal probation, a BP Alaskan natural gas pipeline ruptured, causing a massive explosion.
BP Energy has settled two separate disputes totaling $21 million regarding allegations it manipulated the electricity market in California. In 2006 BP Energy paid out a $7 million civil penalty for engaging in anticompetitive practices with its natural gas pipeline operations. And in October 2007, BP North America settled a civil case alleging manipulation of the U.S. propane market and paid a $303 million fine.
And the Whiting refinery itself has been embroiled in government action and litigation, including accusations that BP misrepresented facts related to air permits.
“It’s long past time for the Obama administration to cut its ties with BP. That much was painfully clear after the Gulf disaster, and remains clear today following the latest spill into Lake Michigan,” said Lopez.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 675,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.