Oil giant British Petroleum (BP) has a reputation as a carefree polluter. Robert Dudley became CEO of the company about four months after one of its drilling rigs off the coast of Louisiana exploded and sank, killing 11 people and sending an oil slick throughout the Gulf of Mexico in one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in history.
BP burnished its image for arrogance and insensitivity a few weeks later when then CEO Tony Hayward called the leak "relatively tiny," and later, in obvious frustration, said "I'd like my life back," essentially trivializing the lives of Gulf Coast residents dependent on the Gulf for their livelihood.
But BP's poor environmental record in the U.S. and other countries goes way back. In 1991, it was cited as the most polluting company in the U.S. based on EPA toxic-release data. As a result of its reputation, it's facing a tougher fight to get new drilling permits in the U.S. where it still faces massive civil claims, and internationally. And a recent tentative joint venture deal with a Russian oil exploration giant is troubled.Who with a conscience would want to work there?
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