British Petroleum (BP) Shames Itself With Green Ads and Disastrous Policy

I’ve written before about oil companies, chemical firms and
pharmaceutical giants who grease the double-page spreads of magazines
with ‘green-speak’ while they poison and flim-flam the public in the
day-to-day reality of their business practices. It’s a favorite subject
of mine.

I’ve written before about oil companies, chemical firms and
pharmaceutical giants who grease the double-page spreads of magazines
with ‘green-speak’ while they poison and flim-flam the public in the
day-to-day reality of their business practices. It’s a favorite subject
of mine.
There is no relaxing. In between leakages and poisonings,
mass deaths and side-effects, the beat goes on. British Petroleum leads
the A-list most grievous offenders. Kari Lydersen writes in today’s Washington Post;

Ind. — A proposal to allow BP to greatly increase the amount of
pollutants it discharges into Lake Michigan from its refinery here has
prompted a bitter war of words between officials in Illinois and
Illinois officials have accused their neighbors to the east
of fouling the lake, which has grown steadily cleaner in recent years.
Indiana officials say the planned discharge is within the federal
limits and accuse their Illinois brethren of grandstanding.

issue is a plan by BP to upgrade its oil refinery in northwest Indiana
to increase the amount of heavy crude oil from the Canadian province of
Alberta that it can refine at its Whiting plant. To help, state
regulators have granted the company a permit allowing it to dump 50
percent more ammonia and 35 percent more suspended solids into Lake

Indiana officials can say what they like, but Indiana merely touches
the bottom of Lake Michigan and what it throws in there mostly slides
around to wash up against Chicago’s swimming beaches. In the bad old
days we had consistent closings of beaches due to Gary and Hammond
steel mills. The mills have mostly gone broke, so the lake has  really
improved more by history than regulation. But the bad old days are back
with BP’s refinery expansion.
BP and Indiana officials say the $3 billion plan will boost the struggling local economy. Ah, the local economy. Was there ever a time when pissing in society’s punch-bowl didn’t boost the local economy?
But BP is more politically correct than that, right?

website) A 32-year industry veteran, Bob Malone (chairman and
president, BP America) admits that when he stepped into the position
last June he was surprised by the breadth of the issues he faced.
“After the Texas City incident, Alaska oil spill, pipeline corrosion
problems and propane trading issues, people were angry,” says Malone.

senior member of Congress told me, ‘we’re very disappointed in you, but
we believe you’ll get it right because of the kind of company you are.’
Members of the Baker Panel expressed similar sentiments.”

Baker Panel? You got it. The same. Good ol’ former US Secretary of
State James A. Baker, III. When he’s not over in Iraq, figuring out
what went wrong, he’s shilling for an oil company. Busy guy, ol’ Bob.
But senior members of Congress get over their disappointment pretty quickly when they are lined up for PAC money and ‘because of the kind of company you are’ takes on multiple meanings. Here’s a sample of the kind of company BP is, from outside the hallowed halls of Congress;

BP was named one of the “ten worst corporations” in both 2001 and 2006
based on its environmental and human rights records. In 1991 BP was
cited as the most polluting company in the US based on EPA toxic
release data. Greenpeace International named BP one of Scotland’s two
largest polluters in 1992. Since branding itself an environmentally
sound corporation in 1997, BP has been charged with burning polluted
gases at its Ohio refinery (for which it was fined $1.7 million), and
in July 2000 BP paid a $10 million fine to the EPA for its management
of its US refineries. According to PIRG research, between January 1997
and March 1998, BP was responsible for 104 oil spills. If one combines
BP’s own emissions with the emissions of the products it sells, then
BP’s emissions are greater than those of Central America, Canada or

But the Environmental Protection Agency is protecting the lake, right?

permit, which allows BP to release 1,584 pounds of ammonia and 4,925
pounds of suspended solids daily into Lake Michigan, was awarded on
June 21 after a public comment period and took effect Aug. 1. Ammonia
feeds oxygen-sucking algae blooms that kill fish, and the suspended
solids in treated wastewater include mercury, lead, nickel and vanadium.

the face of that, no one but a Chamber of Commerce type could possibly
be in favor of dumping crap in the lake. We damned near killed Lake
Erie that way from pollution at Cleveland. Next thing you know, someone
will ‘question the science’ like the bad old days.

Vincent Griffin, vice president of energy and environmental affairs for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, said BP has been unfairly targeted.

the unwilling victim of a political agenda, and that’s just too bad,”
he said. “People in other states are seeing this as an opportunity to
grandstand on an issue that has no scientific basis. If something
should happen to rescind this permit, that will have potential
implications on every permit along the Great Lakes. This is of great
concern and is being watched closely by industry and states up and down
the Great Lakes.”

Well yeah, Vince. Implications are the idea. Industry and the states that cater to it, up and down the Great Lakes, are just exactly who we hope
will watch closely. If you have any concerns at all about the
neighborhood, you try to avoid taking a dump in the guy next door’s


  • On March 23, 2005, an explosion occurred at BP’s Texas City
    Refinery in Texas City, Texas. Over 100 were injured, and 15 were
    confirmed dead, including employees of the Fluor Corporation as well as
    BP. BP has since accepted that its employees contributed to the
  • In March of 2006, one of BP’s pipelines in the North Slope of
    Alaska ruptured, causing a major environmental hazard.  BP had spilled
    over one million litres of oil in Alaska’s North Slope.
  • On July 19, 2006, BP announced that it would close the last 12 out
    of 57 oil wells in Alaska, mostly in Prudhoe Bay, that had been
    leaking. The wells were leaking insulating agent called Arctic pack,
    consisting of crude oil and diesel fuel, between the wells and ice.

of that in a period of less than 30 months. In early August, according
to the Post article, BP agreed to research other ways to make the
upgrade without increasing discharges into Lake Michigan. Company
officials will report to Congress on Sept. 1. James Baker will no doubt
be busy elsewhere.
But BP ought to be able to squeak by from their 2006 $275 billion net profit. 
It’s just a matter now of how they choose to present it in the next double-page spread featuring Bambi on a BP drilling site.
Media comment;

4 thoughts on “British Petroleum (BP) Shames Itself With Green Ads and Disastrous Policy

  1. Those "Green" BP ads have been infuriating me since they began appearing a couple of years back. First of all, they're essentially a lie — your damned company is *STILL* British Petroleum, *NOT* Beyond Petroleum. Until you have ACTUALLY moved "beyond petroleum", you have no right to label yourself that.
    But they're really just part of truly naseauting trend — "green" capitalism, "green" fashion shows, "green" SUVs, etc, etc. As if we can fix the catastrophic future we're all facing by buying "green" stuff that's trucked in from a billion miles away in a diesel-spewing semi…

  2. BP/Whiting has not posted their discharge of vanadium to the surface waters of Lake Michigan, as required by EPCRA, Section 313, Toxic Release Inventory. This discharge has been going since the 1980's and was required to be reported to the TRI data base, starting in 2001. Finally, in 2004, BP reported their discharge of vanadium to Lake Michigan at 12,000 pounds per year. This is estimated to be 1/3 of the actual discharge of vanadium. The primary use of the vanadium is as a catalyst for converting H2S to elemental sulfur in the SRU complex.

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