In an attempt to salvage BP's crumbling reputation, Doug Suttles, the company's chief operating officer, appeared on several talk shows this week claiming that BP is doing everything in its power to cap the oil leaking into the Gulf from April's Deepwater Horizon explosion. But BP representatives have failed to address the growing concerns about the devastating effects the mass amount of chemical dispersants its pouring into the Gulf will have on the environment, wildlife and clean-up workers.
Perhaps more troubling, despite a mandate by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that BP discontinue its use of the extremely toxic Corexit dispersant, the oil giant has adamantly refused to do so. What's more, BP is refusing to reveal the exact chemical composition of the more than 700,000 gallons of dispersant it has so far dumped into the Gulf, claiming that its "confidential business information." Thursday, BP sent a heavily redacted letter to the EPA indicating that it has not been able to find a replacement for Corexit.
In response, the EPA issued a statement this weekend saying that it "continues to strongly urge...companies to voluntarily make this information public so Americans can get a full picture of the potential environmental impact of these alternative dispersants." But the potential disastrous effects these chemicals can have on the environment and workers' health is already well-known, especially after their use in the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Workers exposed to the dispersant, Corexit, 20 years ago in Alaska experienced severe respiratory, neurological and reproductive issues. In fact, the use of these dispersants has proven so problematic that Britain, where BP is headquartered, has prohibited the chemical's use. BP's refusal to cooperate with the EPA, and continued use of chemicals that even its home country has banned raises very serious concerns about our ability to hold the oil giant accountable.
Recently, President Obama and the White House demanded "transparency" from BP regarding not just the amount of oil leaking into the Gulf, but also BP's clean-up practices. Unfortunately, it has become all too clear that BP has no such intentions.
In the month since the oil spill, both BP and Transocean have benefited from legal loopholes permitting them to withhold information and limit their liability for the severe environmental and economic damage they have caused. At this point, it is up to the government to hold these companies accountable for their actions and to prevent future free rides for those corporations who put profits before safety.
Maybe BP should consider changing its name to Brazen Profiteering.
For more information about the BP oil spill, visit www.blizzardlaw.com/BPlawsuits.