Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Truth About BP

As anti-free market types launch their attack on BP and equate BP with a free market operation, Timothy Carney has dug up the dirt that shows BP far from a free market operation. He notes:
While BP has resisted some government interventions, it has lobbied for tax hikes, greenhouse gas restraints, the stimulus bill, the Wall Street bailout, and subsidies for oil pipelines, solar panels, natural gas and biofuels...

Expect BP to be public enemy No. 1 in the climate debate....

BP signed off on Kerry’s Senate climate bill, which was hardly a capitalist concoction. One provision BP explicitly backed, according to Congressional Quarterly and other media reports: a higher gas tax. The money would be earmarked for building more highways, thus inducing more driving and more gasoline consumption.

Elsewhere in the green arena, BP has lobbied for and profited from subsidies for biofuels and solar energy, two products that cannot break even without government support. Lobbying records show the company backing solar subsidies including federal funding for solar research. The U.S. Export-Import Bank, a federal agency, is currently financing a BP solar energy project in Argentina.

Ex-Im has also put up taxpayer cash to finance construction of the 1,094-mile Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline carrying oil from the Caspian Sea to Ceyhan, Turkey—again, profiting BP.

Lobbying records also show BP lobbying on Obama’s stimulus bill and Bush’s Wall Street bailout.

There’s a problem: BP was a founding member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a lobby dedicated to passing a cap-and-trade bill. As the nation’s largest producer of natural gas, BP saw many ways to profit from climate legislation, notably by persuading Congress to provide subsidies to coal-fired power plants that switched to gas.
Bottom line, BP is about as free market oriented as Daily Kos.


  1. These are interesting non-free market connections but their connection to this spill and the way it is being addressed are dubious and so people will still blame the free market as a result.

  2. Also the legislative cap on liability for spills is another example of mercantilist favoritism for BP. I believe this may have originated in the (Dem. introduced) Oil Pollution Act 1990 (