It’s not exactly the corporate death penalty, but it’s a start

On Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it is barring BP from receiving any new federal government contracts due to the foreign oil corporation’s “lack of business integrity” following the 2010 Gulf oil spill. BP recently agreed to pay $4.5 billion in fines for the environmental catastrophe, which will only put a slight dent in their corporate money chest. But this latest move by the EPA could be far more harmful to the company. BP can still benefit from existing federal contracts, however the Department of Interior has also banned BP from receiving any new leases to drill on federal lands.

According to the EPA, the ban on BP will last until the company can prove it’s capable of meeting federal business standards. Our nation has a long history of putting corporations out of business when they’re operating against the best interest of their workers and the community. Only when corporations have the corporate death penalty “Sword of Damocles” hanging over their head can we make sure that workers and communities aren’t being exploited to maximize short-term profits.


LeMoyne's picture
LeMoyne 10 years 26 weeks ago

And the EPA will submit a consent agreement to BP within a couple weeks. I understand that If BP signs it that lifts the suspension. This is a pro forma suspension required by the plea deal - I expect the suspension on new contracts to be brief although it may cause BP to miss an upcoming lease auction it does not touch any of BP's current lucrative government contracts.

PhilipHenderson's picture
PhilipHenderson 10 years 26 weeks ago

Dear EPA thank you! I hope that BP will change its business philosophy so that profits and people are in the equation. It seems they have only been interested in profits up to now. They poisoned the Gulf of Mexico with a river of oil, the worst accident of an oil producer in American history. Under their operation eleven men died and dozens suffered terrible injuries in the fire and explosion. If it were your husband, brother, or father who died or was injured what would you think about BP? This is not merely an economic disaster for the region; lives were lost. Some of the injured will never recover fully. This was also a human tragedy. I hope that BP will be able to prove they have become responsible citizens in our community. However, until they prove their case, let them drill somewhere else. There are other more responsible oil explorers who will get it right. I will not be completely pleased until the men who caused the lack of integrity of the operation are sent to prison. Only prision terms will deter the operators that human lives mean something to Americans.

keenanone's picture
keenanone 10 years 26 weeks ago

Seriously? The United States has fair or even poor business practices expectations? Where do I sign up? I have some terrific land purchase opportunities I'd be thrilled to tell you about! Literally. BTW did you know that many states still have criminal laws permitting the incarceration of business owners whose callous disregard for human life causes harm. Boy howdy, its true. The more things change the more they stay the same. Death Penalty? It used to be you had to prove good citizenship to even get a charter! In fact, most offshore corporate offices are box numbers at a Mailbox Etcetera, Inc. etc. Been there, done that.

M J Pipkin's picture
M J Pipkin 10 years 26 weeks ago

I want to return to the nomination of Susan Rice. I feel she is being unneccessarily hounded by the Repubs; that seems to be their only weapon as just about everything they do and say is not is our best interest. However I did run across some of her quotes re the Iraq war, which does make me not a supporter ... so if Tom could look into this I would be appreciative.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 10 years 26 weeks ago

I read the EPA News Release and there is nothing about lifting the whole ban if a Consent Agreement is signed, as LeMoyne suggested.

A "Consent Agreement" with an environmental agency is a legal document a violator signs to avoid the ongoing accumulation of fines and penalties. If what was signed was a Consent Agreement, that is BP's agreement to pay all fines and penalties owed for violations, agreement to complete whatever plan of mitigation was set forth by the EPA, and agreement to perform any further work in compliance with the law and standards.

Consent Agreements are drawn up under environmental attorney directions so that an Environmental agency will win a case in court. In the younger years of EPA, many violators chose to simply not pay their fines and move on. Thus, the "Consent Agreement" was conceived, to be an airtight contract which will cost the violator more fines and penalties for trying to later dispute the Agreement in court in a case they will not be able to win.

The Consent Agreement will allow the ongoing projects and contracts to be active. Unless it is signed, that condition will be removed. It also gives the EPA a chance to consolidate the files of all BP's ongoing work and comb them for unfulfilled permit requirements and violations.

Every project grandfathered-in must be done to the letter of the law, and if the people who are impacted by BP don't keep up with what their local agency has or has not permitted, there is no way to know other than sending an investigative reporter on a Gulf tour of environmental agencies to see whether permiting has been proper and fair to all companies.

There is no way for BP to meet re-establishment requirements in a matter of weeks. Firstly, a simple dredge-and-fill permit sits in a basket a matter of weeks before someone gets around to working on it. If the ban is lifted that quickly, it'll be time to take a closer look into the regulatory agency and what greased the wheels.

BP will be given a metropolitan phone book-sized list of rules and regulations of what needs to be done for new inspections, and completing any old unfulfilled permit requirements. The EPA has the right and ability to rake them over the coals of Bureaucratic Hell.

Although the threat of disguised subsidiaries has been mentioned, any new companies have to abide by the same rules and regulations attached to their permits. It is not hard to catch and identify a shell company. If BP gets caught trying to work under an alias before meeting the terms of the Consent Agreement it'll be curtains for Standard Oil and the Queen. I doubt they will try it.

David Abbot's picture
David Abbot 10 years 26 weeks ago

The Twain Report

All The News That Mark Twain Says He Would Report If He Was Alive Today


It is not often that The Twain Report is surprised. But we are surprised. In fact, we are extremely surprised. We had thought- based on all available evidence- including the Report's Editor's own personal experience with the EPA- that the EPA was a wholely-owned subsidiary of BP and other corporations. Boy howdy, we can tell you some EPA employees who won't be getting $1 million/year jobs as consultants with BP when they retire from the EPA... (Hopefully, BP can make up the shortfall in consultants, by adding an equal percentage of retirees from other American agencies, as well as from congress and the president's staff.)

We just hope that poor Tony Hayward- BP's CEO- got his life back. Why, we remember feeling such deep pity for him when, after being at BP's helm when BP murdered those 11 Americans and uncounted millions of gallons of oil into the gulf and then dumped lots of incredibly toxic "dispersant" chemicals into the Gulf in a pretense of "cleaning up" their spill, Tony felt so concerned for his emotional welbeing that he got on his huge yacht and went sailing- a decision widely-approved by everyone.

But you know, given BP's entirely reliable assurance that the entire cleanup was completed within a few hours of the time their drilling rig exploded, we expected that Tony would go sailing in the gulf, to enjoy what BP called the "pristine" waters teeming with healthy fish and other wildlife, and to receive friendly invitations to dinner, or at least to wander into the local pubs to hoist a few pints and enjoy some friendly conversation with fishermen, waterfront hotel owners, and other members of the gulf's local business economy. But to our surprise, Tony went sailing somewhere far away from the gulf.

At any rate, it's been so long since we heard from Tony, that we feel concerned for his welfare. The Twain Report is taking up a collection: we ask that everyone who reads this post send a minimum of one oil-covered shorebird, five gallons of shrimp that have at least two heads, one dolphin that died from dispersant inhalation, and fifty gallons of crude oil mixed with sand, to:

Tony Hayward, C/O BP Corporation

hhforester's picture
hhforester 10 years 26 weeks ago

When I was a timber sale contract administrator, if I issued a contractor a stop order it was usually lifted before I could get back to the office from the field! Big bussiness is fast!

michaelbjones1962 10 years 26 weeks ago

UNIMPRESSED. BP has essentially escaped punishment while the Earth and those who dwell here have paid, and will continue to pay, the true cost of this environmental disastrophy. Fines are nice, but avoiding patronizing BP is better. For a trifecta, join me and ride your bike to work.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 10 years 26 weeks ago

This is why the Public has to haunt their local environmental protection agencies and see what goes on there and demand that enforcements are FAIR to all. There is no doubt the good ole boys put their people in high places once Federal Wetlands Protection was passed. Forestry has always been a problem- Fish and Wildlife Service has little power.

I supported a Moratorium on Gulf Drilling until every BP Permit was verified. No one wanted that. There will never be a BACK-investigation into the files once the Consent Agreement is signed. Administrators will say, "No, we're not going to look back because now we have a Consent Agreement.

Anyone who wants to know what the real BP/EPA story is will have to go to the public filing cabinets and figure it out for themselves.

historywriter's picture
historywriter 10 years 26 weeks ago

From my reading, I understand that the opposition to Rice is because the repubs want Kerry so they can fill his senate seat. Enlighten me, please. Duvall Patrick (D) is a Democrat, so he'd appoint another Dem, wouldn't he?

ken ware's picture
ken ware 10 years 26 weeks ago

Does anyone really believe this will change how B.P. does business around the world and in the U.S.? I heard the same thing from the E.P.A. when the Valdez ran aground with a drunken skipper at the helm! They will just write this off as another expense for doing business their way and as long as the PROFITS exceed the costs, nothing will change with the upper management of B.P. So personally I am not hopeful their constant pollution of the planet for profit will change on a permanent basis...If you pulled their charter for doing business in the U.S., maybe that would change how all the polluters for profit do business. It is too bad we can't just purge these guys out of existence.

No Fraud's picture
No Fraud 10 years 26 weeks ago

To all you egotistical do-gooders...Your days are fastly numbered!

As the late George Carlin once said; "Man's ego to save the planet is a bunch of bullsh*t. Someday the Earth will shake us off like a bad case of fleas...And all that will be left is the Earth plastic".

It is time to connect the dots and except the truth. Man may have a large brain but he certainly is dumb as a rock and his ego will be his demise.
Don't get me wrong I too was really pissed off when the BP catastrophy happened. I live in S.W. Florida 5 min. from the Gulf of Mexico, and even though the beaches in my town - to which there are 8 of - did not have any sludge wash ashore or even come within 100 miles, I was concerned of the long term effects.
Then I took a look around at all the spoiled beach front property that is refered to as "paradise"; high rise condos. hotels, B & B's, resturants, malls, plazas, dozens of asphalt parking lots, etc, etc. And it isn't just my town. From Tampa south to Naples (about 200 miles) there is very little land left "untouched" - except for a few Mangrove Islands - along the Gulf of Mexico.
So what am I trying to say???
BP isn't solely the problem...It is all of us. ALL of us must change our way of thinking...ALL of us must change the way we live our lives if we TRUELY are concerned about a sustainable future. The ONLY things vital to our survival - aside from procreation - is: Clean air to breath, Clean water to drink, and Clean food to eat. Everything else is secondary and not a true necessity.
Now that being said I admit I am just as much a broken spoke in the wheel as BP. I drive a gas gusseling V8 work truck. I live in a 40 year old house with original windows and insulation. I patron those local beach front businesses, and I occasionally leave a light or two on all day.
BUT I do have a rain barrel! And all of my landscaping is Florida Native. Whoopy do!!!

Now I am not saying BP shouldn't be held accountable for what happened; more importantly though, WE ALL need to change the concept of our ethos as a whole.
How you ask???Well this is the United States of America...We run under a Democracy...A government of the People, for the People,and by the People. Yea, yea...Corporations...Blah blah blah. If WE really want to change things...Start by being the change. Corporations count on us to buy into their schemes...And they have been quite successfull.

So what are you going to do???
I know where I am going to start...With me.
I no longer patron fast food joints, I bank at a local community bank, I no longer patron any business that does not reinvest in the community. I only drive my vehicle for work purposes, I have installed new insulation, and am replacing my old insufficiant windows as i can afford them, I grow what food I can and shop for locally grown food, I am installing PV solar pannels as I can afford them.

It isn't cheap nor is it easy, but I don't feel right always pointing my finger at others when I am just as much a part of the problem.

delster's picture
delster 10 years 26 weeks ago

Do we need a spurious bureaucracy as an enforcer of our will ? This is probably naive but can we not impose our will as citizens by volutarily rationing odd even number days for purchasing fuel ? Car pool

ride bikes, etc. As a nation of concerned citizens we just can't seem to get together on anything. We simply are soooo weak we could never revolt against anything the way our founding fathers did. We have potentailly so much power and the unbelievable network of advertsing , social media potential it is

astounding we as concerned citizens cannot participate in a noble and just cause. Shall we allow this to endure until it comes to limited violent solutions that are inevitable until we take citizens action ? Our meager acts of self denial cannot have any more of a negative effect on our economy and just perhaps could inspire the more gifted thinkers to create optional forms of economy not based on petrolium. I believe in the possiblity of flipping this economy, the society, and reverse the decay deadening our sensitivity in the less prosperous ranks. Hope, ambition, and prosperity are all a matter of priority and perspective. Bey difinition we can change the way we do business and protect out environment.

markincorsicana 10 years 26 weeks ago

Well, we know what happened when Mossadegh tried to kick BP out of Iran. Obama better watch out for the CIA or any of Teddy Roosevelt's relatives and their skullduggery.

PLSzymeczek's picture
PLSzymeczek 10 years 26 weeks ago

Debarment would threaten the exercise of any options associated with their current contracts, so those contracts would expire no later than next September.

sharon jean horton's picture
sharon jean horton 10 years 26 weeks ago

Since I live on the Gulf Coast I was disgusted by our local leaders getting paid off by BP. I thought of it as Shut up money. I'm overjoyed that they are making it harder for BP.

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