Giving BP the ACORN treatment
Jeremy Scahill thinks the U.S. Government should end its contracts with BP:
Contrast the Congressional response to ACORN’s federal contracts with its response to BP, which does billions of dollars in business with the federal government, specifically the Pentagon. BP holds more than $2 billion in annual US defense contracts and continues to be the premiere provider of fuel to the world’s largest consumer of oil and gas: the Pentagon. BP is responsible for the worst environmental crime in US history. It is responsible for the deaths of 11 oil rig workers. Attorney General Eric Holder said he is conducting both criminal and civil probes into BP’s actions in the US Gulf.
And yet, there is no real, bi-partisan Congressional march to de-fund BP. The White House is reportedly considering the possibility of debarment of BP, but as of last week no formal inquiry had begun. Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported, "Cutting BP off from future government contracts, though, would be an unprecedented and highly complicated move, lawyers say. BP supplies the military with nearly 12% of its fuel needs, making it the Pentagon’s largest fuel supplier, with Royal Dutch Shell coming in a close second, according to the Defense Logistics Agency. ‘It is not hard to block a debarment if an argument exists that it would harm the government, especially on national security grounds,’ said Robert Burton, a Washington lawyer who worked as the Bush administration’s top procurement official."
Remember, BP has been responsible for 97% of all oil-industry related safety violations in the United States, making its record far worse than the competition:
OSHA statistics show BP ran up 760 "egregious, willful" safety violations, while Sunoco and Conoco-Phillips each had eight, Citgo had two and Exxon had one comparable citation.
I think Scahill’s point is right on the money. Pull all of BP’s government contracts and send a clear message to environmental offenders that the feds will not do business with companies with bad environmental and safety records.
Then again, the government probably should have taken some action against BP a long time ago, and probably would have if not for a too-cozy relationship between MMS regulators and BP, not to mention the questionable ties between a certain former Vice President and the company and industry at large.
Nationalizing BP, as some pundits have suggested, strikes me as a huge waste of resources and probably a huge step in the wrong direction, making the oil giant even less accountable by weaving it even more indelibly into the federal government. Cutting all government contracts with BP, on the other hand, is a rational response to this catastrophe.
Besides, it would give the president an opportunity to kick some ass.