The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Gulf Oil Spill
– Just a Business Expense

Oct 12, 2015

BP and the Justice Department recently settled suits concerning the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. BP caused this spill by speeding up the work to reduce drilling costs. The drill rig exploded, 11 workers were killed and more than five million barrels of oil were released into the Gulf of Mexico.

According to the settlement, BP would pay 20.8 billion dollars to repair environmental and economic damage it caused. They say that this is the largest penalty in U.S. history for a company.

But, as usual in such settlements, there is a catch. BP can write off this penalty as a business expense, decreasing its taxes by more than five billion dollars. We, the public will end up paying for the damage caused by this huge oil company’s drive for quick profits. Our taxes will increase and more public programs will be cut.

BP will be making the settlement payments over the next 15 years. BP easily will delay its payments claiming this and that, drag recipients of the settlement into courts again and again, and wait for inflation to erode the value of payments. Exxon did all these to avoid payments after it settled for environmental and economic damages caused by its ship, Exxon Valdez’s spill in Alaska in 1989 – which it still hasn’t completely paid for.

Even when the capitalists lose in this system, they seem to win!