Learn more about our policy experts.

Media Contacts

Angela Bradbery, Director of Communications
w. (202) 588-7741
c. (202) 503-6768
abradbery@citizen.org, Twitter

Don Owens, Deputy Director of Communications
w. (202) 588-7767

Karilyn Gower, Press Officer
w. (202) 588-7779

David Rosen, Press Officer, Regulatory Affairs
w. (202) 588-7742

Nicholas Florko, Communications Officer, Global Trade Watch
w. (202) 454-5108

Other Important Links

Press Release Database
Citizen Vox blog
Texas Vox blog
Consumer Law and Policy blog
Energy Vox blog
Eyes on Trade blog

Follow us on Twitter


Dec. 4, 2012

Public Citizen to EPA: Debar BP for Five Years

Watchdog Warns Against Short Suspension

Contact:Jake Parent (202) 588-7779; Angela Bradbery (202) 588-7741

WASHINGTON, D.C. – BP should be banned from receiving U.S. government contracts for at least the entirety of its five-year probation period because it has a proven track record of irresponsibility and dishonesty, Public Citizen said in a letter today to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In response to BP’s guilty plea to a range of criminal violations, the government last week temporarily suspended the corporation from bidding on lucrative federal contracts. However, news reports indicate the suspension may last only for a period of weeks.

Public Citizen warned against a short suspension, based on the scale of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, BP’s long record of irresponsible activity and failure to reform, and its plea to an obstruction-of-Congress charge.

“This is not the first time BP has promised to do better,” said Public Citizen President Robert Weissman. “As evidenced by the willful actions and inactions that caused the Gulf disaster, and BP’s subsequent deception of Congress, it failed to live up to those promises. Its current promises to do better shouldn’t be given credence until the company shows through its actions that this time is different. Until BP demonstrates over a period of years that it is able to act responsibly, the EPA should debar it from receiving government contracts or new leases.”

BP is the Pentagon’s top fuel supplier and one of the government’s top 100 contractors, receiving $1.47 billion worth of federal money in 2011. This year alone – while under investigation for its role in the Gulf disaster – BP has won $1.1 billion in federal contracts.

Public Citizen said three independent reasons confirm that BP be debarred. First, the company showed that it is a “nonresponsible entity” by its actions leading up to the Deepwater Horizon explosion and blowout, which killed 11 people and caused the massive pollution of the Gulf of Mexico.

Second, BP has shown itself to be a habitual offender. In the letter, Public Citizen lists several violations of federal laws previously committed by BP. Debarment rules emphasize the importance of whether contractors have committed other offenses that indicate a lack of business integrity or responsibility.

Finally, BP has pleaded guilty to obstruction of Congress. BP falsely claimed that it believed the rate of oil flowing into the Gulf to be 5,000 barrels per day, though its internal estimates showed rates far higher. Under debarment guidelines, special attention is paid to crimes of deceit, since they so centrally implicate a company’s ability to operate responsibly and for government’s ability to rely on information provided by the contractor.

To read the letter, visit http://www.citizen.org/documents/Letter-EPA-Debar-BP-2012-12-04.pdf.

Public Citizen is also collecting signatures on a petition calling for BP’s debarment. For more information on this effort, please visit http://action.citizen.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=12041.

Copyright © 2016 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.

Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation


Together, two separate corporate entities called Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation, Inc., form Public Citizen. Both entities are part of the same overall organization, and this Web site refers to the two organizations collectively as Public Citizen.

Although the work of the two components overlaps, some activities are done by one component and not the other. The primary distinction is with respect to lobbying activity. Public Citizen, Inc., an IRS § 501(c)(4) entity, lobbies Congress to advance Public Citizen’s mission of protecting public health and safety, advancing government transparency, and urging corporate accountability. Public Citizen Foundation, however, is an IRS § 501(c)(3) organization. Accordingly, its ability to engage in lobbying is limited by federal law, but it may receive donations that are tax-deductible by the contributor. Public Citizen Inc. does most of the lobbying activity discussed on the Public Citizen Web site. Public Citizen Foundation performs most of the litigation and education activities discussed on the Web site.

You may make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., Public Citizen Foundation, or both. Contributions to both organizations are used to support our public interest work. However, each Public Citizen component will use only the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the activities it conducts as part of Public Citizen’s mission. Only gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. Individuals who want to join Public Citizen should make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., which will not be tax deductible.


To become a member of Public Citizen, click here.
To become a member and make an additional tax-deductible donation to Public Citizen Foundation, click here.