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September 24th, 2009

Greenopia Greenwashing

I dont think any oil company deserves to have an environmental rating, but when I saw that Greenopia rates British Petroleum (BP) as #1, I was really outraged. I guess a huge PR budget and pretending to be post-petroleum works.

BP is no more beyond petroleum, than McDonalds is beyond burgers.

As an oil company, BP comes close to being criminal. It has repeatedly skirted the law, most recently in developing the Atlantis project, which has the potential to cause a catastrophic accident that could shut down the oil, fishing and tourism industry in the Gulf of Mexico. The deepest moored semi-submersible oil and gas platform in the world is precariously positioned in “hurricane alley,” 150 miles of the coast of New Orleans. Under the management of Minerals Management Service, lapdog of the oil industry, BP has been allowed to get away with what may end up being murder. Not only is most of the required documentation proving the platform is safe to operate missing, there is evidence that if a hurricane hits the area, an accident bigger than the Exxon Valdez could be the result. But, it shouldnt be a surprise that BP cuts corners.

BP‚ crimes include 15 deaths and hundreds of injuries in the Texas City Oil Refinery explosion of 2005, for which the company paid a $50 million fine as part of a federal felony plea. In Alaska, BP had two major oil spills in 2006‚ including the largest spill ever to occur on the North Slope‚ a result of corroded, unmaintained pipelines. In 2002 and 2003, BP was also fined for safety violations and violations of leak detection standards in Alaska. In 2000, it paid $15 million for dumping hazardous materials on the North Slope. This year, BP entered a consent decree for $175 million for violating an earlier Clean Air Act consent decree. In 2007, BP paid $300 million in fines and penalties for its manipulation of the propane market and it was fined in Michigan for leaking underground storage tanks.

Greenopia had better reevaluate its oil page. But, more importantly, Congress needs to hold oversight hearings on how the Minerals Management Service allowed BP to drill for oil and natural gas from the Atlantis before BP submitted the necessary paperwork. This is just one of perhaps many accidents waiting to happen off our coasts. Before the administration approves any additional drilling projects, it must ensure that the existing ones are operating safely and were approved according to regulations.

Support hearings to protect the Gulf from another disaster: Sign the petition.

Wenonah Hauter
Executive Director
Food & Water Watch

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