Great news: BP has declined to bid on new Gulf oil leases.
It’s a victory for those still reeling from the havoc BP unleashed on the Gulf region, and it shows the power of activism.
In November, the government suspended BP from bidding on federal contracts. However, it did not say how long the suspension would last. Shortly afterwards, BP was downplaying the suspension to shareholders, telling them the corporation “has been in regular dialogue with the EPA” and was already negotiating with federal regulators to lift the ban.
In response, Public Citizen quickly called on the government to get a backbone and ban BP from receiving U.S. government contracts for at least the entirety of one of its affiliate’s five-year probation period (stemming from that affiliate’s guilty plea to criminal offenses stemming from the Deepwater Horizon disaster) because it has a proven track record of irresponsibility and dishonesty.
Public Citizen also launched a petition calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban BP from contracts for five years. That petition garnered several thousand signatures . Now BP is singing another tune.
Once confident that it could quickly resolve its suspension, BP declined a provisioned offer by the Department of Interior (DOI) to participate in today’s auction of new Gulf of Mexico offshore drilling leases, suggesting that the corporation does not feel it can resolve the contract suspension within the time it takes the department to review new bids and award them to oil companies.
The Department late last week decided to buck the suspension and allow BP to participate in today’s lease auction, likely an attempt to drive up lease bids.