BP Refuses to Halt Production as Refinery Explodes
As we near the two year anniversary of BP’s Deepwater Horizon explosion, the worst environmental disaster in our nation’s history, one has to wonder if BP has learned a thing from that incident. Our Federal Government has yet to fully hold BP accountable as Gulf state residents desperately try to get a vote on the RESTORE Act which would dedicate the BP oil spill penalties to restore the Gulf Coast communities, environment and economy—where the damage from the BP oil spill was done—rather than simply being deposited into the Federal Treasury. After eleven workers lost their lives in the Deepwater incident BP made lofty promises to implement even more stringent safety requirements than mandated by federal regulations to prevent future disasters. After almost two years without accountability, yet another explosion at BP’s Cherry Point refinery in Washington State prove these promises ring hollow.
As fire crews continue their attempt to fully contain the fire from the explosion at BP’s Cherry Point refinery, comments from BP spokesman Scott Dean indicate where Big Oil’s priorities lie.
“The refinery continues to produce products for customers, and it is too soon to speculate on future supply impacts.”
With over 100 workers evacuated watching the fireball from the parking lot, amazingly BP did not even halt the refining process.With 65% of the refinery’s crude oil a day coming from Alaska as well as 20% of their crude mostly coming from Canadian tar sands- halting production would have meant a loss of over 225,000 barrels of oil a day, equating to over 23 million dollars a day on today’s market. Plain and simple 23 million dollars is worth more to Big Oil than keeping their promise to “implement even more stringent safety requirements than mandated by federal regulations”.
Even more alarming, this same BP refinery was fined 13 different times in 2010 for serious safety violations.
So what exorbitant penalty was BP forced to pay for to teach them a lesson for continually putting workers safety at risk? They were fined $69,000. Plain and simple- 23 million dollars per day is worth more than $69,000. Unless this dynamic changes, unless Congress steps up and holds Big Oil accountable for their transgressions, companies like BP will make their billions as Washington State burns, the Gulf suffers and workers lives are put at risk.