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>


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.”

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.