BP has been directly involved in several major environmental and safety incidents. Among them were the 2005 Texas City Refinery explosion, which caused the death of 15 workers and resulted in a record-setting OSHA fine; Britain’s largest oil spill, the wreck of Torrey Canyon; and the 2006 Prudhoe Bay oil spill, the largest oil spill on Alaska’s North Slope, which resulted in a US$25 million civil penalty, the largest per-barrel penalty at that time for an oil spill.
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the largest accidental release of oil into marine waters in history, resulted in severe environmental, health and economic consequences, and serious legal and public relations repercussions for BP. 1.8 million gallons of Corexit oil dispersant were used in the cleanup response, becoming the largest application of such chemicals in US history. The company pleaded guilty to 11 counts of felony manslaughter, two misdemeanours, and one felony count of lying to Congress, and agreed to pay more than $4.5 billion in fines and penalties, the largest criminal resolution in US history.
Sightline examines the conflicts of interest of EnviroIssues, an oil and petrochemical industry PR firm, simultaneously doing work for government agencies overseeing oil industry development proposals.
Tragic comedy best describes the political theatre of Pacific International Terminals and its hired guns for a coal export facility proposal in Washington state. Even before the environmental impact study has begun, the Gateway Pacific Terminal fiasco already comprises a three-act drama worthy of Shakespeare.
Caught in the act of illegally clearing a registered archaeological site containing an Indian village and burial ground in 2011, PIT in 2012 attempted to bribe the tribe with a multi-million dollar payoff in exchange for their treaty fishing rights and cultural heritage. When that failed, PIT hired the world’s largest public relations firm to stack the deck at public hearings on its slippery proposal by fiddling with the speaker allotment system. Recently exposed for publishing misleading advertisements, PIT’s mouthpieces have set the stage for its demented dream to go down in flames.
Value for money. PIT can buy mouthpieces, but it apparently can’t buy brains.