Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Toxic Release in Texas from BP Refinery

http://www.propublica.org/blog/item/bp-could-face-millions-penalty-for-its-toxic-release-in-texas-city

I have an earlier post on this toxic release, but since BP now faces fines I thought I would address it again. Here is how it is described by Propublica author, Marian Wang:

"The state of Texas is suing BP for a huge release of toxic chemicals—including benzene, a carcinogen—that went on for 40 days at the company’s Texas City refinery last spring. The lawsuit could result in civil penalties reaching into the millions.

The release, as we have reported [1], started April 6, just two weeks before the Deepwater Horizon explosion, when a key piece of equipment failed and, rather than stopping production to fix it, BP attempted repairs [1] while operations were continuing — resulting in a release of 538,000 pounds of toxic chemicals."


Does this story sound familiar, even if you haven't heard it before? The theme is familiar: Multinational corporation puts $$$ ahead of safety and ends up poisoning local communities.

There is a very interesting article by BK Lim describing potential geological problems BP may have had with the well. However, for the purposes of this post, what is relevant about the article is Lim's observation that BP staff probably knew early on that there were grave problems with the Deepwater Horizon project. That is why senior BP executives sold off BP shares:
http://bklim.newsvine.com/_news/2010/07/30/4781973-why-is-bps-macondo-blowout-so-disastrous-beyond-patch-up-

"...there was a massive share sell-off (531,461 shares in total) by 4 BP directors just days after the 11 March incident. Tony Hayward sold 223,288 shares (a third of his total holding) on 17 March. This was followed by Byron E Grote on 18 March (58,536 shares), Andy Iglis on 23 March (219,500 shares) and Ian C Conn on 30 March (13,073 shares). And that were only BP’s directors. What about the shares sell off by BP’s executives?"

see here also
http://bklim.newsvine.com/_news/2010/07/15/4683478-a-pattern-of-massive-shares-sell-off-by-bp-directors-prior-to-expected-disasters

the story is confirmed by The Telegraph
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/7804922/BP-chief-Tony-Hayward-sold-shares-weeks-before-oil-spill.html

Multinational corporations and their employees make decisions that benefit their interests. Public safety and health are irrelevant.

They are allowed to behave this way by corrputed politicians and regulators (defined by William Black as "regulatory capture."

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