Boycott BP


Because BP must pay.

Eleven oil workers are dead. One of the largest oil spills in U.S.
history continues to worsen. BP's oil gusher at the floor of the Gulf of
Mexico may be 100 times worse than BP first estimated (and 20 times
worse than the company presently claims). 100 times!

BP's oil gusher is now threatening coastal lands in Louisiana and is
almost certain to destroy fisheries and the livelihoods of people who
fish and shrimp in the Gulf, or rely on the Gulf for tourism business.
The giant plumes of oil deep underwater will exact an unknown toll on
sea life. And the spreading oil may even wind up in currents that
eventually take it to the U.S. Eastern shores.

BP CEO Tony Hayward is sanguine about the whole problem. The Financial
Times quotes him saying, "I think the environmental impact of this
disaster is likely to have been very, very modest."

A boycott will send a message to BP that its shoddy oversight of this
project and its history of environmental and worker safety violations is
unforgivable. Take the BP Boycott Pledge, and commit not to buy gas from
BP for at least three months. Go here:

BP cares desperately about its public image. This is the company that
has sought to rebrand itself as "Beyond Petroleum." BusinessWeek
estimates the BP brand as worth $3.9 billion -- the highest among oil
companies. "Not even an Alaskan oil spill or an explosion at a Texas
refinery has put a dent in BP's strong [brand] performance," said
BusinessWeek in 2006. This time must be different. A boycott will
express the organized consumer anger that BP so fears.

This is a company that should fear the public's wrath, for the
Deepwater Horizon blowout was a preventable disaster. While much remains
unknown, there is mounting evidence that BP could have averted the
catastrophe. BP made a conscious decision not to install a $500,000
safety device that could have prevented the blowout. There is good
reason to believe BP's contractors on the Deepwater Horizon made
multiple mistakes leading up to the disaster, but it is ultimately BP's
job to make sure its contractors are exercising sufficient care. And
Mike Williams, the chief electronics technician on the Deepwater
Horizon, told 60 Minutes that BP pressured its contractors to skirt
other safety measures that might have prevented the disaster.

All this from a company that made $14 billion in profits in 2009 -- a
bad year. First quarter profits in 2010 were over $6 billion.

After the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, Tony Hayward reportedly
asked why bad things keep happening to BP.

But this is not a case of bad things happening to good people. BP has
one of the worst environmental and safety records of any oil company
operating in the United States. BP has pled guilty in just the last few
years to two crimes and paid more than $730 million in fines, penalties
and settlements for environmental crimes, willful disregard for
workplace safety and energy market manipulation.

BP sometimes says it will pay for the harms caused by the spill, but at
other times hedges what it may be willing to do. There will be
litigation and fines, and BP won't have the final say on what it wants
to pay. In any case, cash compensation for economic harms caused --
while necessary -- doesn't bring back destroyed ecosystems and does
little to mitigate the company's culpability for not preventing the
blowout in the first place.

The only good that can come out of the BP disaster is if it forces the
United States to fundamentally reorient energy policy. As a matter of
simple common sense, the Obama administration should reverse its new
policy and stop offshore drilling expansion. More fundamentally, BP's
oil gusher is yet another reminder of the need for a massive shift away
from fossil fuels and to investments in efficiency and renewable energy.
The disaster also emphasizes how crucial it is to hold Big Oil
accountable. The BP boycott is a way to start.

There are no "good" oil companies, but BP is a particularly bad and
irresponsible actor. Consumers should make it pay. Take the BP Boycott
Pledge: .

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