09 June, 2010, 10:14
The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has now gone on for 50 days. Many argue that the spill is a result of money, and lots of it.
“The money that plays into this is the enormous quantities of lobbying and enormous expenditures in lobbying that BP and the rest of the oil industry have been pouring into congress, particularly over the last two years since the Obama administration came into play. During the eight years of the Bush administration they were able to essentially legislate from within the government and we’re seeing the results of that legislating and lobbying now; which is essentially a complete lack of oversight, regulation and enforcement,” said Antonia Juhasz, the director of the Chevron Program at Global Exchange.
This trend goes back further into history than the George W. Bush administration. The oil industry has been a dominant force in US politics, expanding significantly during the year 2000. During the same time frame, there was also an increase in environmental accidents by oil companies.
“We’ve seen just in the Gulf BP alone had 50 accidents and spills among its operations just in the last five years,” said Juhasz.
These past events however led to very minor fines.
The billions of dollars spent on campaigns to date may soon appear to be mere chump change. Due to a new US Supreme Court decision, corporations are no longer limited in the amount they can spend on US political campaigns, as they once were.
“We have only begun to experience the financial capacity of this industry which is, hands down, the wealthiest industry the world has ever known,” said Juhasz.