09 June 2010

BP: A Habitual Offender (Part Two)

DAY TWO - BP's Arrogance & Scofflaw Behavior

Operating under various aliases our "Career Criminal" has amassed a record worthy of even the most hardened serial criminals, from its sordid beginnings as a monopoly in Iran to its current day-to-day death, depredation, and destruction brought on by its stupidity, greed, negligence and arrogant disregard for safety.

Let's take a look at this "Repeat Offender's" rap sheet, shall we? 

1993-1995:  BP copped a plea and paid out $22-million, which included; $500,000 in criminal fines, $6.5-million in civil penalties, and the establishment of a $15-million environmental management system.  This was to head off more severe penalties and consequences for its illegal dumping of waste oil, paint thinner, and other toxic and hazardous material on Endicott Island, Alaska.  No Known Deaths

2005: BP, after a series of less serious accidents and unaddressed engineering problems and issues had a catastrophic explosion at its Texas City, Texas refinery.  Thousands of nearby residents had to flee their homes, 180 people were injured, and known dead were 15.

Cost-saving measures that curtailed important maintenance and safety measures were traced directly to company executives in London.

The company pleaded out again.  This time pleading guilty to a felony violation of the Clean Air Act, receiving a $50-million fine and 3-years probation.

Four years later OSHA socked BP with an additional $87-million in fines after reporting that, leading up to the deadly accident, inspectors had uncovered 270 safety violations that had previously gone unfixed and 439 new violations.   Known Death Toll:  15

 2006 - 2007: North to Alaska, again. In October of  2007 the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation reported a toxic spill of nearly 2,000 gallons of mixed methanol, crude oil and water at the BP managed Prudhoe Bay oil field.  Methanol is poisonous to humans, animals and plants.

Earlier, in August 2006, BP made headlines because it had to shut down its Prudhoe Bay oil operations due to leaks of crude oil and diesel fuel brought on by pipeline corrosion. In May 2007, BP suffered yet another partial shutdown due to leaks,  All told, current estimates are that BP, as a result of these leaks, released 5,000 barrels of oil into the fragile environment.  So far, nearly four years later, only 1,513 barrels of liquids, 5,200 cubic yard of contaminated snow, and 328 cubic yards of soiled gravel have been recovered

In 2007, BP had another partial shutdown resulting from leaks,  Experts interpreted this as another example of the company's decision to curtail badly needed maintenance of its pipelines.  No Known Deaths

2008:  In this two year period, three workers were killed in separate accidents at BP's Texas City Refinery.  Known Death Toll: 3.

2007: Again, BP cops a plea and pays a $303-million fine for manipulating propane prices.  The plea-bargained settlement included a $125-million civil fine to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, $100-million to the Justice department, $53.3-million to a restitution fund for the victims of its con games, and $25-million to a USPS consumer fraud education fund.  No known deaths.

2008:  The Russians get a dose of BP's street-corner shell game, and in 2010 impose a 1.1-billion Ruble fine ($35.2-million U.S.) after TNK/BP was found to have abused antitrust legislation by setting artificially high oil products prices in 2008.  No Known Deaths.

2009: In April, in good weather, off the coast of Scotland a helicopter with workers leaving BP's platform in the Miller oilfield crashed.  Known Death Toll: 16

2010: On April 20, The Deepwater Horizon explosion, fire and oil spill, in the Gulf of Mexico, becomes a ghastly scenario of death, destruction and catastrophic environmental impact of horrific dimensions as government, academia, and oil company experts dither in the search for an effective way to shut off the flow of oil sullying coastlines, towns, communities, businesses, fisheries, hatcheries and habitats for decades.

While a full investigation lies in the future, it is already known that BP did not equip the rig with a gas alarm system that could have shut off the power in the engine room.  Early on, an investigation revealed that critical gas and fire detection sensors and connected shutoff systems were not operating on the rig and that it was likely that other backstop mechanisms and air-intake shutoff  valves failed.  Known Death toll: 11

Coming Tomorrow: Revelations of Political Influence, Human Rights Violations, and More Environmental & Safety Violations

No comments: