The 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was the worst offshore oil spill in history. Residents of the US Gulf Coast are still recovering from its devastating impacts on their health, livelihood and environment. From their perspective, the rosy picture of recovery that BP attempts to paint in its advertising masks what remains an incomplete clean-up and recuperation effort.
Against the interests of Gulf Coast communities, BP is working hard to restart drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, even the UK government has intervened on behalf of BP, supporting their pursuit of oil — even the face of the on-going health, environmental and climate consequences of continued offshore drilling.
Gulf Coast residents have sent a letter (full text on Platform, excerpt below) to David Cameron, urging the UK to withdraw a statement of support recently submitted to a US court on behalf of oil giant BP. In November 2012, the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) banned BP from participating in new federal contracts due to a “lack of business integrity.” Since that time, BP has been fighting the ban, and the UK government recently intervened, claiming the ban is “excessive.”
Residents of the Gulf Coast, where BP’s oil continues to wash ashore and where in the past few weeks 1.5 million pounds of “oily material” has been recovered from Elmers Island and Port Fourchon (Louisiana), say the ban is not excessive and cite various pieces of evidence in the letter:
In spite of BP’s craftily worded public relations campaigns, some areas of the Gulf are just now being reopened for fishing, and areas that were previously reopened are reporting record low catches. Our fishing industry is decimated and our ecosystem is forever damaged. BP’s oil still clouds our waters and tar balls litter our shores. Families who for generations have sustained themselves on the warm, plentiful waters of our Gulf have suddenly found their livelihoods, their financial security and their futures impeded.
We know BP’s culture of profit over safety and propaganda over truth is not representative of the UK’s many corporations who operate safely in the US every day.
We respectfully ask that you rescind your support of BP and their egregious corporate conduct. The US EPA’s decision to ban BP from participating in US government contracts is not only fair and just, but will send a strong message not only to BP, but to all corporations who operate in the UK, the US, and across the globe.
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