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EPA Finds Its Backbone, Blocks BP From New Oil Drilling Contracts

EPA Finds Its Backbone, Blocks BP From New Oil Drilling Contracts

Not so long ago, we reported that BP will finally accept criminal charges for the catastrophic 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The guilty plea was entered as part of a deal with the U.S. Government that would cost BP about $4.5 billion in fines but ultimately absolving the company from future prosecution on these charges.

Many in the Care2 community felt that the fines were a mere slap on the wrist for a company that’s responsible for the deaths of 11 rig workers and countless marine creatures, not to mention the destruction of coastal businesses and health risks to residents. Some pointed out that while BP would have five years to pay off the fine (further decreasing its impact on the company) the settlement did nothing to prevent the company from committing the same atrocity again.

Now, it seems that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken a small step toward finally hitting the British petroleum company where it hurts. In a recent press release, the EPA “announced that it has temporarily suspended BP Exploration and Production, Inc., BP PLC and named affiliated companies (BP) from new contracts with the federal government. The U.S. EPA is taking this action due to BP’s lack of business integrity as demonstrated by the company’s conduct with regard to the Deepwater Horizon blowout, explosion, oil spill, and response, as reflected by the filing of a criminal information.”

Before you celebrate, let’s examine what this really means. First, it’s only a temporary suspension, so it could be another symbolic action that lacks teeth. Second, it does not affect existing agreements BP may have with the government. So, while the government feels that BP “lacks business integrity” and is ultimately responsible for a horrifying accident that killed 11 people, it’s not opposed to doing business with them.

Although the EPA’s suspension of new government drilling contracts with BP should be permanent and retroactive, it’s still a positive development. Unfortunately, just cutting out BP won’t reduce the risk of off shore drilling to U.S. residents and the environment. There are plenty of other greedy oil companies just waiting to take their place. As EcoWatch notes, it’s interesting that this announcement came on the same day that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management held an oil and gas lease sale that will make more than 20 million offshore acres available to oil and gas drilling in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area.

For a President who promised to make climate action a top priority, Mr. Obama is off to a confusing and disappointing start.

 

Related Reading:

Gulf Oil Spill: 10 Horrifying Facts You Never Wanted To Know

Two Years After BP Oil Spill, RESTORE Act Becomes Law

A Legacy Of Lies: The BP Oil Spill Two Years Later

 

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Image via fibonnaciblue/Flickr

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78 comments

+ add your own
2:56AM PST on Feb 16, 2013

Would it be possible to adopt renewable type of energy?

7:09AM PST on Dec 27, 2012

We need clean and sustainable energy

12:11PM PST on Dec 16, 2012

thanks for sharing :)

4:34AM PST on Dec 13, 2012

Things like this is why we are paying so much for the gas for our cars!

6:22AM PST on Dec 11, 2012

What makes the oil companies think that oil under the ocean belongs to them in the first place? They don't own the land. Especially a BRITISH company. I would have permanently barred them from ever drilling again the second the Deepwater explosion happened. If they're going to be that irresponsible, they're done. I would have also blocked them from running TV commercials after their terrorist attack on us. "We're going to make it right." Really, BP? That's great, so how are you going to bring back the 11 people you killed? 11 Americans, by the way.

10:10PM PST on Dec 7, 2012

Lets see if they keep the backbone.

9:01PM PST on Dec 6, 2012

what? they grew a pair. wow.

3:58AM PST on Dec 6, 2012

Clean energy is the way of the future, I cannot wait until we do not depend on this filthy commodity like it is the only fuel to power our needs.

2:06PM PST on Dec 5, 2012

It's about time! I guess getting on them may have helped. Now on to the FDA as well.

2:52AM PST on Dec 5, 2012

good

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