EHS OutLoud Blog

Where's BP's Credit Check?

If I wanted to sign up for a BP credit card, they'd run a credit check on me to ensure I'm a good risk.

I'd like to know who was running a credit check on BP when the company requested expedited permits for the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. (You know, the oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and creating an environmental catastrophe that could be one of the worst our world has seen in modern times.)

There's a process outlined in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which was enacted following the 1969 Santa Barbara, Calif., oil spill and mandates that federal agencies like the Minerals Management Agency must complete a thorough environmental assessment before approving major projects like offshore drilling. Regulators at the Minerals Management Agency apparently believed BP officials who assured them that the company should be granted an exemption from the process required by NEPA because the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig was at low-risk for things like explosions and fires and spills.

Had officials at the Minerals Management Agency run that credit check on BP, they would have discovered the $170 million in fines issued by other federals against BP for violations of safety and environmental regulations. I'd say those fines make BP a bad credit risk.

What do you think?

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