BP has been spending big bucks in a public relations effort designed to divert attention from its shameful conduct and to restore its tarnished image. In fact, a television ad campaign alone cost the oil giant $50 million. Even before the rig exploded in the Gulf, killing 11 people and creating the worst environmental catastrophe in our nation’s history, BP already had a very bad safety record. Let’s take a look at a part of that record.
• BP has been hit with 760 “egregious and willful safety violations” according to OSHA.
• BP paid the highest fine in history for failing to fix what was wrong at a Texas refinery.
• BP was responsible for explosions resulting in the deaths of 30 workers and the injuries of 200 more.
• BP lobbied successfully for safety waivers on the very rig that exploded in the Gulf.
• BP hired 27 people on its lobbying team who had worked in the White House or Congress.
Many believe the investigation announced by Attorney General Eric Holder referred to in this issue is likely to result only in monetary fines—fines that the highly-profitable BP will have no trouble paying – with the company not having learned its lesson. The civil litigation, which will be extensive, will compensate those who have been damaged in any manner. But I believe BP and all other wrongdoers responsible for the disaster in the gulf must be punished severely.
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