The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Phone: (202) 588-1000

One Month Later: Five Things We Know About the BP Gulf Disaster

Statement by Tyson Slocum, Director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program


A month has passed since the explosion of the Deepwater
Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico, and still, oil is gushing from a
broken well at a rate that is still being debated but is likely far
higher than BP, the company responsible for the disaster, originally
estimated. Here's what we know so far:

1. We should have seen it coming. BP was under criminal probation at the
time of the disaster for felony violation of U.S. environmental laws.
The company has one of the worst track records of any oil company
operating in America. It needs more than just a financial slap on the
wrist, which is what it will get if the $75 million liability cap
remains in place. Instead, BP should pay full damages to those who have
lost their livelihoods in addition to playing for the cost of cleanup.

2. Mounting evidence shows that BP was negligent. Firsthand accounts
describe BP managers proceeding with work to cap the well, even though
they were informed that the integrity of the blowout preventer had been
compromised. BP must be held accountable - and should be subject to
permanent sanctions and criminal charges against executives.

3. BP is as transparent as oil about the disaster. BP has consistently
misled the public about how much oil is gushing from the well, has
forbidden scientists from more thoroughly analyzing the rate of the
gusher and has blocked journalists from taking photos of oil-covered
beaches. At the same time, BP is footing the bill for a $70 million
television ad campaign to assure tourists that Gulf Coast beaches are

4. The Minerals Management Service cannot be trusted to protect workers,
the environment or taxpayers. We need a total overhaul of this dreadful
agency - now.

5. We must ban all new leasing, permitting and drilling offshore until a
full investigation is complete. It would be senseless to continue this
practice for one more second until safety is analyzed and improvements
are implemented.

BP must pay. We urge the public to pledge to boycott
BP for at least three months by visiting

about BP's history of violations.

Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people - not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country.

(202) 588-1000