BP's Credibility Gusher

Where BP once established itself as a forward-thinking oil company strong enough to face the realities of climate change and the need for oil companies to diversity their energy sources, those days appear to be long gone.

With the catastrophe that is BP's Gulf oil spill, the company is now cementing a reputation for dissembling, deceit and dirty tricks when it comes to disclosing the true scale of the disaster at hand and its handling of the mess.

And not just thoughtless and self-pitying comments like CEO Tony Hayward's Memorial Day gripe that "I want my life back," which he and the company let sit out there for days before issuing a belated apology.

BP's shameful behavior is spreading as widely as its oil, and its credibilty gushing as fast as its leak.

Starting with their refusal - thus far - to make public all the feeds from their underwater cameras. BP didn't want to make any feeds available, but was forced by Chairman Markey to stream live undersea video. But according to Markey's office, BP actually has 12 feeds from the leak site and surrounding areas, but BP refuses to make them public. That denies the American people - not to mention the federal government - what could be critical information for monitoring and understanding what's going on and BP's performance in handling it.

Think Progress has a good roundup of other examples in a piece called "BP's Credibility Gap":

BP is doing everything in its power to mislead the public about the realities of the spill -- from wildly underestimating the amount of oil that has leaked into the Gulf, to denying media outlets access to report on the scene.

But there are a few more points to add to that. BP reps initially tried to get fishermen who joined the cleanup effort to sign waivers that they would not sue the company. This outrageous attempt to buy off the fishermen's legal rights was thrown out by a federal judge. BP also tried to get Alabama residents not to sue the company for damages in return for a $5000 settlement fee. That plan was nixed by the Alabama AG.

Also, as we noted in our blogs, BP at first refused EPA’s orders to use a less toxic chemical dispersant to break up the oil, claiming they couldn’t get their hands on it.  The massive use of dispersants by BP has been very controversial since so little is known about its synergistic effects with oil and the impact it has on underwater sea life. 

Finally, my colleague Al Huang blogged about BP's disregard for OSHA laws, citing an article from McClatchy News Service that uncovers a scathing Labor Department internal memo on the inadequacy of BP’s worker health and safety practices.  The memo calls BP’s plan to protect workers “a systemic failure.” You can read our blogs about the workers who have complained BP reps refused to allow them to wear respirators while working for days in the middle of toxic oil fumes at sea.