Common Cause Marches at BP’s DC Headquarters
- Dale Eisman
Washington, D.C. – Today is Tax Day and BP is claiming a $9.9 billion tax refund to cover the costs of the Gulf oil disaster. As part of Power Shift’s 2011 Make Big Polluters Pay March, Common Cause and a coalition of Gulf Coast Groups were among the organizations sponsoring a stop at BP’s Governmental Affairs Office with 3,000 students and Gulf community members to demand that BP take responsibility for its oil disaster and pay its share of taxes.
This week marks one year from the beginning of the BP oil disaster, and Gulf Coast communities are still suffering from environmental degradation, massive public health problems, and economic devastation due to collapsed fishing and tourism industries.
“One of the many failures that occurred around the Deepwater Horizon explosion was a failure of our political system,” said Common Cause President Bob Edgar, referring to the millions of dollars that BP and other energy companies invest in campaign contributions and lobbying. “BP purchased tax breaks and a regulatory environment that made drilling easier, more economical and more dangerous. We’re still paying the price.”
Andre Gaines, a Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College student, put his education on hold after the BP oil disaster began. He was hospitalized for two weeks from vomiting and severe respiratory distress brought on by his exposure to oil and other toxic contaminants, along with many oil spill cleanup workers. He came to Washington, D.C with over 100 Gulf Coast residents to demand that Congress, President Obama, and BP help in their fight to clean up and restore the communities where millions of people live, work, and vacation.
Cherri Foytlin, a mother of six and activist fighting for the Gulf, walked from New Orleans to Washington, D.C. At the rally in front of BP, Foytlin said: “It’s tax day, and inside these offices BP is celebrating. They are celebrating because today they are pulling a big one over on American taxpayers, to the tune of $9.9 billion. That’s the unbelievable amount they are deducting from their taxes. It’s up to the U.S. Congress to close these tax loopholes, make BP pay to cleanup and restore the Gulf Coast, and to stop the proposed cuts to the EPA.”