Last month, BP announced that its claim-compensation fund, intended to pay for claims filed by businesses and individuals affected by the 2010 oil spill, is running dry; claims that they are required by law to pay. Even more recently, BP claimed that it has “uncovered new allegations of fraud and conflicts of interest” in regards to the claims filed, an extension of similar allegations the company made earlier this year.
BP requested that settlement payments be suspended temporarily so that a former FBI director could investigate the settlement program. A similar request was thrown out by a federal judge last month.
Just last week, BP CEO Bob Dudley said that the BP claims only benefit the lawyers, that the whole legal process under which the settlement program has been enacted is “not right, it’s not good for American business.” BP, or anyone within the company, being critical of things like fraud, conflicts of interest, and bad business practices is an insanely laughable concept. These are crimes that BP has been guilty of on several occasions, and they aren’t even the worst.
Colombia is a country that has had a turbulent history of political unrest and civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people. When BP built their OCENSA pipeline, it only helped to intensify the violence and murder in Colombia. The ELN guerrilla group, in protest of BP, attacked and blew up the pipeline in October 1998, resulting in the deaths of 70 people.
The pipeline’s presence further cultivates the political unrest between the leftist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitary groups who support the Colombian government and oil companies. Contesters of either side, including those who merely “have criticized BP. . . have been murdered.” In 1997, a farmer who had sold a portion of his land to BP complained that gas flaring kept his cattle from breeding. He and his nephew were later killed, supposedly by a pro-BP paramilitary group. When the widow took issue with the case, her son was also killed.
But the killing doesn’t stop there. BP struck up a multi-million dollar deal with the Colombian Defense Ministry where BP provided “security and communications equipment,” among other supplies, in exchange for military protection of its oil installations. As with the paramilitary group, the Colombian army would kill anyone who protested against BP.
Oil Companies in Colombia gave the names, along with pictures and videos, of oil company protesters to the army and many of them were killed, “kidnapped or beaten” by the army or right-wing paramilitary groups. BP was later found to be one of the companies that provided that information to the military.
While BP was drilling in the Prudhoe Bay oil field, east of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the company caused over 104 oil spills from January 1997 to March 1998. The following year, BP pleaded guilty to one federal felony count of illegal waste dumping at the Endicott Oil Field, which is near Prudhoe Bay. BP paid $22 million in criminal and civil fines in relation to the charge.
And of course there is the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, which killed 11 rig workers and polluted hundreds of miles of gulf shoreline and has gone on record as the largest man made disaster in the world’s history, but BP has also caused devastating harm to other ecosystems. What’s perhaps more disgusting than the spill, is the way in which BP handled everything related to it; from investigation of cause to its PR efforts, which were designed to intentionally mislead the American public.
Last year, a former BP engineer was charged with destroying over 200 text messages about the severity of the well leak. The text messages that Kurt Mix, the accused, destroyed, contained vital information such as “real time flow-rate analysis,” the amount of oil spilled, and one especially important message with preeminent knowledge of top-kill’s expected failure.
BP tried to cover itself months after the 2010 spill by offering Gulf Coast-based scientists large stipends to conduct BP-biased research. There was another stipulation to the contract. Because there were confidentiality clauses in the contract, scientists were not allowed to provide their findings to any entity other than BP. Some scientists outright turned their noses up at the offer.
“We told them there was no way we would agree to any kind of restrictions on the data we collect,” said University of South Alabama head of marine sciences Bob Shipp. “We didn’t like the perception of the university representing BP in any fashion.”
With a wrap sheet like this, which is only a fraction, it’s absolutely absurd for BP to have the audacity to file any settlement appeal and for any representative of the company to make a statement giving the appearance of human concern.
BP has destroyed land, ocean, and human life all across the globe in its pursuit of profits and higher market shares. They are the prototypical evil corporation.