BP’s Back, Baby!

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Last Friday, BP filed its first plan for new exploratory drilling in the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010. It’s only been a year and a half since the company dumped several million barrels of oil into the Gulf, but it already feels ready to hunt for more, this time in the Keathley Canyon area.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune has a good piece on BP’s new proposal for exploration in the Gulf. As the Times-Pic notes, it’s not like BP hasn’t been out there since the spill. The company has continued work on its old wells, and its ventures with Chevron, BHP Billiton, and Noble Energy have all moved forward. But the Keathley Canyon exploration is the first new solo project for the company since the spill. A piece from Reuters includes this tidbit:

After calling a full-stop on new offshore drilling after the spill, U.S. regulators have approved new drilling plans for many other companies, including Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron , but not for BP.

“I think it will be interesting to see whether BP is treated any differently. The word is they won’t, but we’ll see,” said Phil Weiss of Argus Research in New York.

“It’s significant in that, assuming it’s approved, it gives BP the ability to get back to work on a project they’re in charge of,” Weiss said.

“All operators are held to the same enhanced safety and environmental standards put in place following the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill,” a BOEM spokeswoman said.

The last part is what’s interesting to me. One would hope that all offshore drilling proposals are subject to rigorous consideration before they are approved, of course. But it’s a little alarming that a company like BP can dump 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf and, a year and a half later, not be subject to any more scrutiny than other drillers. Not even a little.

It’s also worth noting that the oil spill response bill the House passed last year would have at least barred oil companies with bad records from obtaining new leases in the Gulf. But that bill didn’t go anywhere in the Senate, and therefore is not a law today. What BP is applying for now is approval of an exploration plan, not a new lease, but it is a good reminder that despite last year’s disaster, there are no new restrictions on what BP can do in the Gulf.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

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.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

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.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate