The corporation that virtually destroyed half the Gulf of Mexico by spilling millions of tons of oil into it tried this week to get out of its responsibility – and previous agreement – to pay for at least some of the damage it caused.
Last week, [the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals] rejected [British Petroleum]’s attempt to stop businesses in the Gulf from collecting on losses resulting from the 2010 oil disaster. BP claimed that the companies were trying to recover “fictitious losses,” but the New Orleans court didn’t buy it. In a 2-to-1 ruling, the judges upheld an earlier ruling against BP, and said that an injunction on BP payments to Gulf businesses should be lifted. These payments are part of a settlement that BP agreed to back in 2012 – a settlement that the oil company said was “good for the people, businesses and communities of the Gulf, and in the best interests of BP’s stakeholders.”
This is just s-o-o-o corporate America. First they lowball damage estimates, then they make promises they have no intention of keeping, then they attack the victims by claiming they’re perpetrating fraud, and finally they send their high-priced lawyers to convince the courts to let them off the hook when the damages turn out to cost more than their original, absurdly low, estimate. Corporate America takes NO responsibility for its actions unless forced to by the courts (an increasingly rare outcome, btw) and even then never stop trying to get out from under.
Yet, you say, this is a British corp. Where is the famous British sense of fair play? of taking responsibility? of paying your debts?
Good question but the answer isn’t difficult: they’ve adopted an American business model. We are spreading our message of greed first and fuck the losers to the entire world.
Isn’t that special? Isn’t that the sort of legacy we want to leave behind us? I’d say.
UPDATE (3.14.14): So our corporate-friendly, not to say corporate-puppet, govt picked NOW to decide that BP could once again negotiate for federal contracts.
Given that the BP Gulf spill was the largest accidental oil pollution of a body of water in history, one would think that the company (which earned a $13.4 billion profit in 2014) would be on its best behavior. That is hardly the case.
In fact, BP is currently pursuing litigation to stop making Gulf spill restitution payments that it had agreed to in a court settlement. That’s right; it is trying to get the legal system to allow the company to alter the terms of how it would pay compensation to plaintiffs represented in a class action suit — even though BP signed the agreement.
Which I guess is behavior our sham-gov admires. Public Citizen:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today [March 13] that it had reached a settlement with BP to allow the oil giant to once again secure new federal government contracts and drilling leases. Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, issued the following statement:
Today’s announcement lets a corporate felon and repeat offender off the hook for its crimes against people and the environment. This is a company that was on criminal probation at the time of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, and it has failed to prove that it is a responsible contractor deserving of lucrative taxpayer deals.
Or indeed of it being willing to do something as basic as honoring its own agreements. When you reward perfidy, you’ve got no right to complain about perfidious acts.