EPA Blocks New Gov’t Contracts for BP

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-487966p1.html?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Debby Wong</a> / <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Shutterstock.com</a>

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The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Wednesday that it has temporarily barred BP and all its affiliates from new government contracts. This is significant news, as it comes at the heels of BP’s settlement with the Department of Justice over criminal charges related to the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. One of the criticisms of the settlement was that it did not include penalties for the company beyond the $4.5 billion fine.

The EPA’s announcement was a bit of a surprise. The agency said in a press release that the prohibition on new contracts is in response to BP’s “lack of business integrity as demonstrated by the company’s conduct with regard to the Deepwater Horizon blowout, explosion, oil spill, and response.” That included neglect and misconduct that led to the death of 11 rig workers, and lying to Congress and shareholders about the extent of the damage from the spill.

The company will be barred from obtaining new contracts “until the company can provide sufficient evidence to EPA demonstrating that it meets Federal business standards.” The company will, however, maintain its current contracts with the government. The Wall Street Journal reported during the 2010 spill that BP was “the single biggest supplier of fuel to the Department of Defense, with Pentagon contracts worth $2.2 billion a year.”

Scott Amey, general counsel for the Project On Government Oversight, called the announcement “surprising but welcome” in a statement. “This is exactly the strong step the government should take to protect federal agencies, safeguard taxpayers, and establish expectations for responsible contractor behavior,” said Amey. “BP had years to improve its business ethics and is paying the price for its inaction.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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