From: Miami Herald
ANCHORAGE — The causes of the disastrous blowout and gas explosion on BP’s leased Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico are a long way from being determined.
Yet already BP’s actions are facing unprecedented scrutiny, thanks to a years-long history of legal and ethical violations that critics, judges and members of Congress say shows that the London-based company has a penchant for putting profits ahead of just about everything else.
Over the past two decades, BP subsidiaries have been convicted three times of environmental crimes in Alaska and Texas, including two felonies. It remains on probation for two of them.
It also has received the biggest ever fine for willful work safety violations in U.S. history and is the subject of a wide range of safety investigations, including one in Washington State that resulted last week in a relatively minor $69,000 fine for 13 “serious” safety violations at its Cherry Point refinery near Ferndale, Wash.
While BP has said it accepts responsibility for the spill, it denies that it’s guilty of a systematic pattern of safety and environmental failures.