April 30th, 2010
06:21 PM ET

In ironic twist, BP finalist for pollution prevention award

Call it a tragic irony.

BP, now under federal scrutiny because of its role in the deadly Gulf of Mexico explosion and oil spill, is one of three finalists for a federal award honoring offshore oil companies for "outstanding safety and pollution prevention."

The winner of the award - chosen before the April 20 oil rig incident - was to be announced this coming Monday at a luncheon in Houston. But the U.S. Department of Interior this week postponed the awards ceremony, saying it needs to devote its resources to the ongoing situation resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and fire.

Eleven workers are presumed dead and an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil are leaking every day from the well. The cause of the explosion is still unknown.

A spokeswoman for the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service said she did not know which of the three finalists for the non-monetary award had been selected, nor did she say whether the current circumstances could influence the decision if BP was the winner. Winners of the award are kept secret until the ceremony, she said.

The floating Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded and eventually sank 130 miles southeast of New Orleans is owned by Transocean Ltd., a Swiss company, but was under contract with BP. The U.S. Coast Guard has termed BP the "responsible party." In U.S. Coast Guard parlance, "responsible party" typically means the entity that owns the vessel that caused the spill and is responsible for responding to an incident.

It does not imply criminal negligence.

According to a Department of Interior's website, BP Exploration & Production Inc. is one of three finalists for a Safety Award for Excellence, which honors companies for "outstanding safety and pollution prevention performance by the offshore oil and gas industry." The other nominees are ExxonMobil Corp. and Eni US Operating Co. BP specifically was nominated in the High OCS Activity Operator category, for companies engaged in operations on the outer continental shelf.

The Minerals Management Service was to name the winner of the award at the 2010 Offshore Technology Conference in Houston next week. The annual award is an engraved plaque and a letter of citation, both signed by a Department of Interior official.

The awards program is intended to elevate awareness of safety and pollution and prevention, encourage voluntary compliance, educate the public and encourage excellence in safety and pollution prevention, the department says.

The program began in 1999, and is for a company's performance the previous year. British Petroleum has won the award once before, in 1992.

soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. Honest John

    What positive impact will the Obamacrats have on the outcome? How about NONE!

    May 3, 2010 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Honest John

    Awarding a "safety award" is yet another useless / meaningless government action. In a world where a responsible party would be concerned with saiving money and getting the economy moving, why waste time on such trivia? Oh, I get, it's a "fell good" action.

    May 3, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bruce Majors

    And on the Twelfth Day, the Lord God spoke over the Waters and the Face of the Deep and said "I will continue to make this a Day of Rest, so that the World shall be remade in My Image, Black, Oily, and Toxic to all that swims in the sea, flies in the heavens or lives on the earth."

    May 3, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joseph Mott

    What's even more deeply ironic is that the U.S. Department of the Interior would even GIVE OUT awards to oil companies for "pollution prevention" in the first place. It's not as if pollution is just some spontaneously occurring natural event, and the oil companies are driving around policing it and protecting the oceans. They're CREATING THE HAZARD in the first place. This is just another example of how giant corporations have co-opted our government in order to polish their own images and enhance profit.

    May 4, 2010 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
  5. Zulkifli (Malaysia)

    Dear American friends. Is this disaster some kind of reassurance that the US is the world no 1 polluter? When you handle dangerous chemicals, modifying DNA, nuclear, the CERN or any technologies please handle it well because you can destroy our planet earth we all live in. Zulkifli xISU Terre Haute Indiana

    May 5, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jim Lacey

    1. Raise the dome.
    2. Weld a huge propeller inside it (horizontally)
    3. Resubmerge it adding pipe to the top side funnel as it's lowered
    4. The sheer pressure of the well head is probably enough to turn the propeller,
    but it could be electrified as well, in case
    5. The moving propeller should offer far less resistance, perhaps allowing
    the dome to be successfully placed over the top of the wellhead.
    6. But even if this doesn't work 100%, it should at least allow some (maybe most
    or even all?) of the oil to be contained and maybe even saved, although that's
    not the main purpose of this solution (which is to save the environment).

    May 10, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. No Apology's

    Guess which presidential election campaign received the largest monetary donation fund in history. OBAMA"S ELECTION CAMPAIGN> That's right Obama is in the BACK POCKET of BP. That's why the Whitehouse was so slow to react and bring judgement to BP.( OBAMA WAS TOO BUSY PLAYING GOLF AND SHOOTIN HOOPS TO BE BOTHERED. Imagine if Bush's campaign received the largest donation by BP than the disaster occured. The left would be UP IN ARMS. This proves the Democratic party are phony hippocrite's in bed with the mainstream media and big business.

    May 26, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
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