BP lobbied against environmental safety

WILLIAM PHILPOTT/AFP The company formerly known as British Petroleum has finally acknowledged that it tried to cut corners on environmental safety in order to save money prior to the March, 2005, Texas refinery blast that killed 15 people and injured 500. BP successfully lobbied against stricter environmental controls in Texas, which would have forced BP ...

WILLIAM PHILPOTT/AFP

WILLIAM PHILPOTT/AFP

The company formerly known as British Petroleum has finally acknowledged that it tried to cut corners on environmental safety in order to save money prior to the March, 2005, Texas refinery blast that killed 15 people and injured 500. BP successfully lobbied against stricter environmental controls in Texas, which would have forced BP to upgrade the exhaust system that ultimately exploded. Susan Moore, BP’s lobbying chief, was even given a $1,000 bonus for saving BP $150 million in monitoring and equipment upgrades.

BP has been in hot water over the past few years for some questionable practices. In addition to facing accusations that it tried to manipulate propane prices in 2004, the company has also had to close down part of its Alaskan operations in March, 2006, after around 267,000 gallons of crude oil leaked out of one of its pipelines and prompted a safety investigation by U.S. regulators. Then six months later BP had to excavate a 50-year-old underground pipeline after 1,000 barrels of gasoil spilled in Long Beach, California. Despite these glaring errors, BP still managed to make a $22.3 billion profit last year. If BP is not intending to move “Beyond Petroleum” just yet, let’s at least hope that it will stop cutting corners when it comes to environmental safety.

Prerna Mankad is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

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