BP Wants to Get Let Off the Hook? Are We Talking About the Same BP?

from Wildlife Promise

NWF Staff Photo

There are reports out that BP is HIGHLY OFFENDED that the Justice Department might ask it to pay a settlement for the Gulf oil disaster of … just $18 billion. That’s less than half of the full penalties BP could face if they’re held fully accountable under the Oil Pollution Act, Clean Water Act, and other laws. I’m sure you will be shocked to hear this comically-low figure was helpfully floated by a British newspaper, the Sunday Times.

Now, I am not a lawyer, merely a wildlife advocate who spent weeks in the Gulf both during the disaster and in the aftermath to document its impacts on wildlife and communities. But I really feel the need to clarify here, and while I don’t want to start another word war between Jerry Seinfeld and The New York Times, I have a few questions.

BP? The same BP that, along with rig owner Transocean and contractor Halliburton, the presidential oil spill commission found ignored critical warning signs and failed to take precautions that might have averted the Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11 workers and gushed over 200 million gallons of oil and other hydrocarbons into the Gulf of Mexico?

The BP responsible for a spill zone where more than 8,000 birds, turtles and dolphins were found dead in the first six months, with the dead never found potentially 50 times that number and with dolphins still dying in higher numbers two years into the disaster? Those guys?

If we’re talking about the oil company that reportedly tried to keep media away from seeing dead dolphins, I’m pretty sure that was BP, right?

The same BP that gave public estimates that underestimated the spill rate by 53 times, then held back video of the gushing wellhead that let independent experts almost instantly give the public a more accurate spill rate than weeks of BP and government cover-ups?

Striped dolphins swim through BP oil, April 2012 (NOAA’s National Ocean Service)

The one with the bumbling Brit for a CEO? Wasn’t it Tony Hayward, who famously whined “I’d like my life back” while wildlife were dying and fishing boats were idle, then jetted off to a yacht race in the middle of the disaster? Who was last seen cutting deals to drill in an Arctic wildlife haven and in Iraq? Sure sounds like BP.

The BP that was incredibly efficient at hiring boat captains (leading to their conspicuous silence) but comically inept at setting up an oiled wildlife hotline?

Stop me if I’m wrong, but this was the company that decided to conduct a giant experiment by using an unprecedented 1.1 million gallons of chemical dispersant to bury oil out of sight at the bottom of the sea floor, where much of it remains? My spider sense is telling me BP.

The BP who banks billions in profits each quarter but warns it’s gearing up to wage a long legal battle if asked to pay a penny more than BP thinks is “fair and reasonable”?

And if you go into Louisiana marshes today or look out on the Gulf’s surface, there’s still a good chance you’ll see oil belonging to, and I’m just talking a wild guess here, but I’m gonna say BP?

That BP? They think they can push us into giving them a sweetheart settlement deal? Really?

The National Wildlife Federation has written to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to hold BP fully accountable for the damage they did to the Gulf Coast’s wildlife, communities and ecosystems. It’s important that we get a settlement that’s not only just and fair, but timely – after Alaska’s Exxon Valdez disaster, Exxon Mobil dragged out its legal battle with victims for decades.

Take Action

Attorney General Holder needs to know that we have his back as he takes on BP and its army of lawyers. Please take a moment right now to ask Attorney General Holder not to let BP off the hook.

Are you as outraged as I am? Then don’t stop there. Ask your friends and family to take action – copy and paste the link into an email or IM, or use the social media buttons on this page to “like” this post on Facebook and tweet it if you’re a Twitterer.