BP: “We Can and Do Responsibly Operate”

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President Obama met with the heads of BP today to kick some ass calmly discuss the state of the company’s much criticized response to the oil disaster. But just a few months ago, the White House was soliciting input from BP and other stakeholders for its new Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, a panel of government agencies formed to oversee the “protection, maintenance, and restoration of oceans.”

BP’s September 14, 2009 letter to the Council on Environmental Quality includes a number of lines that we now know to be not all that true:

U.S. waters and coasts hold enormous natural resource wealth and we have demonstrated we can and do responsibly operate within these areas while supporting American jobs and contributing to energy security. Properly regulated and managed, these areas should and can continue to be available for multiple uses.

And this:

Effective controls are in place and being enforced to appropriately manage water resources in the ocean, lake, and coastal areas in the United States where we operate various industry and commercial operations.

The portions about the effective oversight of the Minerals Management Service (MMS), which we now know has long neglected any meaningful environmental analysis of offshore development, is particularly striking:

The minerals Management Service (MMS) five-year leasing program development process takes into consideration multiple uses of US waters and provides balanced environmental stewardship and responsible development of the OCS. The MMS process should be used as a basis for regulatory efforts without realigning the agencies’ regulatory authorities.

The letter could be funny, if BP’s well wasn’t currently leaking up to 65,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf every day.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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