Thursday Apr 21, 201109:25 PM GMT
BP spent $2 million lobbying in first quarter of 2011
Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:26PM
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On the first anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that killed 11 workers, oil giant BP revealed via mandatory disclosure forms that it spent at least $2 million on federal lobbying in the first quarter of 2011 on a wide range of issues, from advocating for an end to the offshore drilling moratorium imposed by President Barack Obama in the wake of the spill to caps on its contributions to the restoration of the Gulf Coast.

 

BP tapped five well-connected lobbying firms -- Alpine Group; Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock; the Podesta Group; Stuntz Davis & Staffier; and the Duberstein Group -- to ply their influence on Capitol Hill and at federal agencies in the wake of the four-month-long spill, which devastated the environment and leaked more than 205 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

 

Executive-branch agencies targeted by the beleaguered oil behemoth, which faces a criminal probe by the Justice Department, included the Environmental Protection Agency and the State and Treasury departments. Huffington Post

 

HIGHLIGHTS

"The oil industry has a veritable army at its disposal. They spend tens upon tens upon tens of millions on federal lobbying and campaign efforts," David Levinthal of the Center for Responsive Politics told Salon.

 

In 2010 the oil and gas industry spent $146.5 million on federal lobbying. This is almost three times the $52 million spent on lobbying in 2004. Salon

 

Although the 2009 lobbying figure ($175 million) was greater than the amount that was spent in the year of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, Levinthal said, "Make no mistake, 2010 was still a big year for oil and gas industry lobbying." Salon

 

"If oil and gas lobbying wasn't at the degree it is, we might see a very different situation today in terms of legislation," Levinthal said. Salon

 

Not only is lobbying expenditure vast, but the lobby size (representing every big company from BP to ExxonMobil to ConocoPhillips) is greater even than the size of Congress itself. "Seven hundred and eighty-eight lobbyists represented the various entities in the industry in 2010, and 500 of them had previously worked for the federal government in some capacity at some time," Levinthal said. Salon

 

This is a considerable wall of lobbyists for any legislation to work its way through. Salon

 

BP filed a series of lawsuits targeting rig owner Transocean, Cameron International, the company that provided the blowout preventer that failed to stem the oil leak following the explosion, and Halliburton, the engineering giant that carried out the cement work on the blown-out Macondo well. Salon

 

The cases are expected to proceed in parallel to federal legal action against the companies involved that is scheduled to take place next year in an attempt to apportion blame for the crisis and finalize the level of liabilities. Business Green

FACTS & FIGURES

According to the Center for Responsive Politics the American Petroleum Institute (API) spent $7.3 million to lobby Congress and the White House in 2010, ranking seventh behind six oil-and- gas companies. Bloomberg

 

Total lobbying expenditures for BP in 2010 was $7.3 million. Open Secrets

 

Exxon gave $1.33 million to congressional campaigns. More than 80 percent of Exxon's money went to the Republicans. Bloomberg

 

On April 20 last year, the well being drilled by the BP-owned rig suddenly kicked back, spurting oil and gas up the drilling pipe and setting the Deepwater Horizon aflame in the Gulf of Mexico. Time

 

By the time Coast Guard rescue boats arrived on the scene, the $560 million drilling rig already appeared unsalvageable, and on April 22 the Deepwater Horizon sank. Time

 

The cleanup -- still ongoing -- would cost tens of billions, and the environmental impact remains uncertain. Time

 

The BP oil leak of 2010 was described as the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. NYT

SAR/HJ/SM

 

 

 

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