British Petroleum (BP), which is the same company that had the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico just off the coast of Louisiana in 2010 that devastated much of our wetlands, has won a victory against laws protecting the environment. Government documents show that BP America lobbied for President Trump to dilute legislation meant to protect American citizens and the environment. This will make it easier for new projects such as oil pipelines and power plants to go forward with far less federal review of their impact on the environment.
The law that was changed in BP’s favor was the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which is blamed for holding back progress in major infrastructure projects such as new oil pipelines and roads. These documents which, according to Greenpeace, were found by Unearthed show that BP along with its trade association, the American Petroleum Institute, lobbied the White House to change NEPA so that climate impacts of major fossil fuel projects will fall outside of its scope.
Trump says the fox can watch the hens.
BP wins U.S projects with ~no need to bother with environmental protection / limit on impacts.
Clean air, water & ground + climate emergency be damned. Feels like Trump just gifted American lives & rights to BP.https://t.co/2ksOSGzXwu
— 🔋Tesla Opinion🔋 (@TeslaOpinion) January 28, 2020
In a letter to the White House written by BP in 2018, they welcomed Trump’s plans to pretty much undo the regulations that were set up to protect our environment from these companies. BP endorsed the proposals that were put forward by the API which demanded fundamental changes to NEPA. Among these demands was a request to exclude the wider climate impacts of oil and gas projects from being scrutinized as a part of the approval process. So, in other words, they want our government to undo laws aimed at protecting human society and let the oil companies do whatever they want regardless of how it impacts our environment.
Senator Whitehouse of Rhode Island told Unearthed that, “It’s clear the fossil fuel industry calls the shots for Donald Trump. Whether it’s swapping out the Clean Power Plan for a do-nothing rule, freezing fuel economy standards for cars, or gutting methane pollution limits, the Trump administration proposes rollbacks and fossil fuel handouts ripped straight from industry talking points.”
A BP representative told Unearthed: “BP strongly supports NEPA and has been working with the environmental and business community to ensure its continued effectiveness.” An API spokesperson said that “Some courts have required agencies to consider greenhouse gas emissions beyond the footprint of a project, finding such emissions to be reasonably foreseeable and reasonably related to the project, and the proposed rule does nothing to alter that analysis.”
Particularly when we've just caught them lobbying the Trump administration to weaken climate safeguards on new oil projects.
Our new investigation into BP, published with the Guardian, is here. https://t.co/Y6KDAuz1Fg
— Unearthed (@UE) January 23, 2020
However, Nathaniel Shoaff, a senior attorney for the Sierra Club, pointed out that, “If the oil industry right now is pretending that the impacts of the proposed rule changes are going to be minimal, they’re being totally disingenuous because I’m 100% certain that those same oil companies are going to be in court … arguing the exact opposite, which is that the new changes mean that you don’t have to look at downstream uses of oil, gas, and coal.”
The truth is that if BP supported NEPA, then it wouldn’t be lobbying for a complete change of the law. If the API really cared about what the courts have required, then they, too, wouldn’t be lobbying for these protective laws to be changed in their favor, so those words spoken by their spokespeople are just that — empty words.
On the political level, we all have a choice whether to support politicians who side with oil companies over the people or not. On the personal level, go electric.
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