Decision Allowing BP to Bid on New Oil Contracts Signals Profits More Important Than Safety Specal Guest: Tyson Slocum, Director, Public Citizen’s Energy Program March 20, 2013 Can a company behind the biggest environmental catastrophe in the country’s history clean up its act in four months? Most people would say “absolutely not.” But, astoundingly, the Department of Interior (DOI) has said “yes.” Late last week, the DOI decided to allow BP – which behaved so badly that the federal government just four months ago suspended it from bidding on federal contracts – to participate in today’s lease auction. If the corporation’s suspension has not been lifted after the 90-day review of the auction, BP’s leases will be offered to the second-highest bidder. This puts pressure and unreasonable time constraints on the U.S. Environment Protection Agency to lift BP’s suspension from federal contracts. Allowing BP to bid is unacceptable. The purpose of this type of suspension – which was put in place in November after a BP-affiliated company pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster – is to protect taxpayers from negligent and criminal contractors. By blatantly disregarding the intent, the government is turning what should be an effective tool to protect taxpayers into a paper tiger.