The federal contracting community is abuzz today with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement that energy company BP P.L.C. and several of its affiliates have been suspended from federal contracting.
The EPA justified its action citing BP’s “lack of business integrity” as demonstrated by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. That one incident killed 11 people and caused a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, for which BP recently pleaded guilty to 14 criminal counts and agreed to pay more than $4.5 billion in penalties. BP still faces civil lawsuits filed by the federal and state governments.
The suspension prevents BP from getting new contracts. It does not affect BP’s existing federal contracts, a point BP makes abundantly clear in its public statement today. The suspension will be lifted when BP can show the EPA that it is responsible and meets federal business standards. In the meantime, the Department of Interior has also disqualified BP from winning new leases to drill for oil or gas on federal land.