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5 Jun, 2010 00:36

Gulf oil spill overshadows second oil leak in Alaska

While the focus has been on the BP oil rig explosion and crude oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, BP’s other spill of more than 100,000 gallons of oil in Alaska has been completely overshadowed.

The Alaska Pipeline is owned by BP and is dangerously corroded and unmaintained. This neglect caused the pipe to burst and spill gallons of oil off the coast of Alaska.

No one is watching,” said investigative journalist Greg Palast.

BP is not the worst in the oil business said Palast, citing Chevron's issues in the Amazon and Shell’s past spills in the Niger Delta. However, BP has a long history of neglect.

They [BP] were greatly involved and greatly compliable in the spill of the Exxon Valdez. It had Exxon’s name on the ship, but it was British Petroleum that was in charge of preventing that oil from hitting shore. They didn’t do it. They were in charge of having the emergency spill equipment around the Exxon Valdez, they didn’t have it. Just like in the Gulf, they said they could handle a spill. They couldn’t," said Palast.

Palast said BP operates under a “culture of neglect driven by penny pinching” where a desire for increased production and lower costs has driven the company to cut corners where safety is concerned.

They [BP] have gone after whistleblowers they don’t like,” said Palast.

BP targets those who recommend and encourage spending on safety. Palast said they have continually used political pressure to fire government regulators whom they see as a threat. BP has even gone to the extreme, using ex-CIA agents to tap phones and search houses.

A US judge who heard about this activity said that British Petroleum was acting like Nazis,” said Palast.

Palast said that if BP listened to the whistleblowers, these type of incidents would not happen.

But of course if they listened they would have to spend some money to fix things,” said Palast.

Palast continued, “We have a big problem with oil companies. They are worth so much that they feel they have immunity and impunity. […] And baby, in politics it’s money that talks!”