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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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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