Wednesday, May 5, 2010

BP Lobbyists, the Obama Cash Machine and the Gulf of Mexico calamity

From the Washington Post:
The Interior Department exempted BP's calamitous Gulf of Mexico drilling operation from a detailed environmental impact analysis last year, according to government documents, after three reviews of the area concluded that a massive oil spill was unlikely...

BP has lobbied the White House Council on Environmental Quality -- which provides NEPA guidance for all federal agencies-- to provide categorical exemptions more often. In an April 9 letter [just eleven days before the catastrophic oil spill that started two weeks ago when a deepwater rig leased by BP exploded and sank], BP America's senior federal affairs director, Margaret D. Laney, wrote to the council that such exemptions should be used in situations where environmental damage is likely to be "minimal or non-existent." An expansion in these waivers would help "avoid unnecessary paperwork and time delays," she added.
How much of an effect did BP's lobbying efforts have on President Obama and the subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?

Well, suffice it to say that, while BP and its employees have given more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, the largest chunk of their money has gone to Barack Obama, according to Reuters:
During his time in the Senate and while running for president, Obama received a total of $77,051 from the oil giant and is the top recipient of BP PAC and individual money over the past 20 years, according to financial disclosure records.

In Congress, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who last week cautioned that the incident should "not be used inappropriately" to halt Obama's push for expansion of offshore drilling, has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of BP's largesse...

"Make no mistake: BP ranks among the most powerful corporate forces in U.S. politics," said Dave Levinthal, spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics. "It donates hundreds of thousands of dollars every election cycle through its employees and political action committee..."

BP has also evolved in its corporate giving over the past decade, shifting more money to Democrats...
So, how much of an effect did BP's lobbying efforts have on President Obama and the subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?

Hmmm, that's an excellent question, and one that needs to be addressed urgently, and forthwith!

Related Video: Obama: The Lobbyists Conundrum:

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