June 7, 2010  

Public Citizen Urges Defense Department to Suspend and Debar BP Subsidiary

BP Oil International Is Getting More Than $2.1 Billion From Defense Department

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Citing the ongoing Gulf oil disaster and BP’s history of criminal convictions, Public Citizen today called on the Department of Defense (DoD) to suspend and ultimately debar BP and its subsidiaries from serving as a federal contractor, and terminate six current contracts worth $2.1 billion to BP, the group said in a letter to President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

BP Oil International Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of BP, has six contracts with DoD totaling more than $2.1 billion, primarily for fuel delivery.

Federal regulations authorize suspension of a federal contractor if there is evidence that the contractor has committed an “offense indicating a lack of business integrity or business honesty that seriously and directly affects the present responsibility of a Government contractor or subcontractor,” as well as for “any other cause of so serious or compelling a nature that it affects the present responsibility of a Government contractor or subcontractor.”  The regulations likewise authorize debarment of a contractor for these same reasons.

Two American BP subsidiaries are still on criminal probation under the terms of the companies’ 2007 guilty pleas to a felony violation of the Clean Air Act and a criminal misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act. In addition, the Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit against BP Exploration Alaska Inc. in March 2009 for failing to comply in a timely manner with a corrective action order involving this spill of 200,000 gallons of crude oil into Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay.

Also, the company has paid $730 million in fines and settlements for environmental and worker safety violations and market manipulation charges.

“These guilty pleas, in addition to numerous settlements the company has paid regarding price-gouging, highlight that BP cannot be relied on to carry out its contractor duties,” wrote Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s energy program. “BP’s entire operations – from exploration, to refining, to fuel transport, to commodity trading – have violated federal laws with frequency and severity. Given the company’s willful transgression of U.S. laws, it can no longer be presumed that BP will responsibly perform its contractor responsibilities.”

The letter is available at https://www.citizen.org/our-work/climate-and-energy/articles/letter-department-defense-bps-federal-contracts.

###
Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.