Following the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that began in April 2010, a group of senators attempted to change the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which holds an oil company involved in a spill responsible for only $75 million in economic damages. When the scale of the Gulf spill was shown to be much higher than that cap, the senators wanted to change that number to $10 billion, and introduced the “Big Oil Bailout Prevention Unlimited Liability Act.”
As the Huffington Post reports, the Act didn’t stand a chance, thanks to some heavy lobbying:
The American Petroleum Institute, an umbrella organization for the industry, testified against it…
Meanwhile, several of API’s highest-profile members lobbied lawmakers on the bill, according to records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. The list included Exxon, Royal Dutch Shell and Anadarko Petroleum. It also included BP, the company directly responsible for the disastrous spill and, in turn, the legislative push to change liability law.
That BP lobbied lawmakers on the penalties companies faced for spills, as it faced penalties for causing a spill itself, underscores how even the most embattled company often sees Congress as a worthy investment. BP spent $8.43 million in 2011 on efforts to influence legislation. While that total fell far short of the nearly $16 million it spent on lobbying in 2009 — much of it on working to defeat cap and trade legislation — it represented a $1 million uptick from 2010 levels. It was also about .0324 percent of the company’s $26 billion in profits from last year: a small price to pay to ensure the preferred legislative outcomes for the firestorm it ignited.
Today, not even two full years after the spill, BP has five rigs drilling the Gulf, making it, according to the New York Times, “one of the most active drillers there.”
The Huffington Post: BP’s Influence Peddling In Congress Bears Fruit Two Years After Gulf Spill
Source Article from http://unitedrepublic.org/2012/bp-profits-off-of-d-c-influence-peddling/