BP: “We Can and Do Responsibly Operate”

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President Obama met with the heads of BP today to kick some ass calmly discuss the state of the company’s much criticized response to the oil disaster. But just a few months ago, the White House was soliciting input from BP and other stakeholders for its new Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, a panel of government agencies formed to oversee the “protection, maintenance, and restoration of oceans.”

BP’s September 14, 2009 letter to the Council on Environmental Quality includes a number of lines that we now know to be not all that true:

U.S. waters and coasts hold enormous natural resource wealth and we have demonstrated we can and do responsibly operate within these areas while supporting American jobs and contributing to energy security. Properly regulated and managed, these areas should and can continue to be available for multiple uses.

And this:

Effective controls are in place and being enforced to appropriately manage water resources in the ocean, lake, and coastal areas in the United States where we operate various industry and commercial operations.

The portions about the effective oversight of the Minerals Management Service (MMS), which we now know has long neglected any meaningful environmental analysis of offshore development, is particularly striking:

The minerals Management Service (MMS) five-year leasing program development process takes into consideration multiple uses of US waters and provides balanced environmental stewardship and responsible development of the OCS. The MMS process should be used as a basis for regulatory efforts without realigning the agencies’ regulatory authorities.

The letter could be funny, if BP’s well wasn’t currently leaking up to 65,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf every day.

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That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

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