March 5, 2007 The Pump Handle 0Comment

An article in yesterday’s Financial Times reveals that prior to the deadly explosion at its Texas City refinery, BP successfully lobbied against environmental regulations that could have mitigated– if not prevented– the catastrophe from having taken place in the first place.

BP’s own report regarding the March 2005 explosion noted that an exhaust system upgrade to a flare system could have “reduced the severity” of the event by containing and burning off emissions before they could catch a spark.

That’s funny, because in December 2004, BP was celebrating having gotten out of spending 150 million dollars to curb volatile organic compound emissions and to comply with new equipment standards. Regulatory affairs manager Susan Moore was nominated for a hefty bonus for her role in BP’s lobbying triumph.

Talk about dirty money.

A spokesman for BP assured the Financial Times that the unit that exploded at the plant would not have been upgraded before March 2005– even if BP hadn’t gotten out of meeting stricter regulations three months earlier. (He didn’t put it quite like that, but you get the idea).

I am not impressed. The fact is, BP made a concerted effort– a concerted successful effort– to get out of meeting regulations that could have prevented 15 deaths and 500 injuries. And all they can say for themselves is that the changes wouldn’t have gone into effect yet anyway?

It’s not that I’m shocked by this. I probably would have fallen out of my desk chair if BP responded with a statement of apology to the families whose loved ones died because of their deliberate negligence. I reserve the right, however, to be thoroughly disgusted by the whole affair.

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