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E-M:/ Honor BP

As a long time member in good standing of the Society for the Cowardly Acquiescence in Domination by Multi-National Corporations, and in conjunction with our annual Corporate Citizen of the Year Award, I have been asked to announce a Lifetime Achievement Award to British Petroleum (which prefers to call itself BP these days) in recognition of many accomplishments over the years, not the least of which include:

--- Following suspect futures trading in propane gas during 2003 and 2004, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission in 2006 charged that BP, with the knowledge, advice and consent of senior management, conspired to manipulate and corner the market in propane. In 2007, BP agreed to pay nearly $303 million in damages and penalties.

--- An explosion and fire in 2005, resulting from mismanagement and neglect at its Texas City refinery, killed 15 people and injured approximately 100 others. The U.S. Department of Labor ordered BP to pay a $21 million penalty for 'egregious, willful violations' of safety standards.

--- In 2006, corrosion in BP's Alaskan pipeline from Prudhoe Bay was so severe that the pipeline began leaking crude onto the tundra, the result of years of mismanagement and neglect.

--- Four fires at BP's oil field operations on Alaska's North Slope during the first two weeks of September, 2007 caused concern and inquiries from state officials.

--- In August last year, BP asserted the right under a permit from USEPA and the State of Indiana to increase its discharges of ammonia (by 54 per cent) and suspended solids, including mercury, lead, nickel and vanadium (by 35 per cent) from its Whiting, Indiana refinery into Lake Michigan and waters downstream. That assertion was part of a plan to process heavier, dirtier crude from the Alberta tar sands. The increase of discharges was stopped dead in its tracks by a public uprising and a call by the Chicago Sun Times for a boycott.

These days, the company is attempting to buy legitimacy by running ads on public television (PBS), among other media outlets, telling us how environmentally conscious and responsible the company is.

One has to wonder whether the waning social utility of this corporation justifies its existence any longer. BP is looking more each year like a government chartered cancer.


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