The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has proven, once again, that it is more than willing to sacrifice small businesses for a select few larger and politically powerful corporations. Recently, The Chamber filed an amicus brief backing BP in the company’s efforts to renege on its settlement with Gulf Coast individuals and businesses. At the same time, thousands of smaller businesses, which are Chamber of Commerce members, and numerous local chamber affiliates, have pursued claims in the settlement based on the terms BP and its legion of lawyers and experts agreed to after negotiating those terms for nearly a year. To put it in plain terms, the Chamber is directly opposing the interests of more than 84,000 smaller businesses, for the benefit of one huge and powerful foreign corporation.
The Chamber contends that only businesses that actually can trace economic injury to the spill should be compensated. The Chamber completely ignores the fact that BP specifically negotiated the terms by which a business can trace economic injury to the spill. In fact, not only are the claims identified by BP and the U.S. Chamber “fairly traceable to “the spill, but are supported by evidence that BP stipulated and admitted would be sufficient to objectively establish that the damages were “caused by” the spill. The Chamber is backing the position of BP who has gone back on its word and trying to avoid living up to an agreed-upon settlement.
The Chamber often touts the importance of sticking to promises made in contracts. Why not here? Unfortunately, the Chamber is much more concerned with protecting a powerful British corporation over smaller, less influential, U.S. businesses. Maybe it’s time we all ask ourselves why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce fails to uphold the ideals of our local chambers, which are so vital to local businesses. If any of our readers have any connection to the Chamber of Commerce, perhaps they should ask the following questions of their leadership:
If you believe that BP should keep its word, live up to its agreement and be accountable for its gross wrongdoing, let your local Chamber of Commerce officials know how you feel.
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