When BP meets for their annual shareholder meeting (AGM) in London this week, you can be sure they’ll discuss their monster profits, their strategies to maximize those profits into the future, and how important further Gulf of Mexico deep water drilling is to their business plans.
What they won’t likely discuss is the ongoing impacts of their drilling disaster on the people and places of the Gulf.
At last year’s AGM, they wouldn’t even let Gulf activists in the meeting, detaining them at the side of the building, even though they held valid shareholder proxies.
Given this history, we thought it was important to remind the Care2 world about the ongoing impacts we’ve cataloged so far.
On our recent field trips to the Louisiana marsh, we’re documenting oil surfacing in areas deemed “clean” by BP. We’re also seeing research proving that tar balls washing up on Dauphin Island are filled with dangerous bacteria, and tar balls and tar mats continue to be picked up from Florida to Louisiana.
Pulling together the scientific reports as they trickle in paints a bleak picture of the state of the Gulf’s ecosystem. Dead dolphins continue to wash ashore in record numbers and dolphins in heavily-oiled Barataria Bay are extremely ill; deep water corals have been severely damaged; traces of oil may have infiltrated the food chain; fewer whale sharks are being spotted in the Gulf; Gulf killifish, an important bait fish, are showing gill damage (sub-lethal impacts such as these led to the collapse of the herring fishery four years after the Exxon Valdez spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska); and fish are being caught with lesions and bacterial infections.
Unfortunately, much of the science being produced has been kept confidential as evidence for the possible trial against BP.
Likely these points won’t be raised this week in London, with much of the very limited discussion focusing on how much they pay their executives.
It is unlikely they will discuss their remaining legal liabilities. While a partial settlement has been announced between BP and the plaintiffs steering committee representing businesses and individuals for economic losses and health impacts, there has been no settlement for the Gulf environment. BP’s largest liability, fines under the Clean Water Act which could total over $20 billion, have yet to be determined and the U.S. Department of Justice appears ready to go to trial.
If you’d like to help remind the BP executives about their drilling disaster’s impacts on the Gulf, Gulf Restoration Network (GRN) has a video action alert we’ve created. You can find that online here.
Photo Credit: Gulf Restoration Network