BP under fire at AGM for taking unacceptable risks.



Interview opportunity with community representatives from Alberta Tar Sands and Gulf of Mexico coast – see below for details.

Residents from opposite ends of North America are travelling to London for a showdown with BP. Representatives of First Nation communities affected by the massive Tar Sands project in northern Canada are working in partnership with fishermen and women whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed by BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill off the Gulf Coast. They will be joined inside the AGM on Thursday 14 April by UK campaigners and angry shareholders, many of whom are planning on voting against the board.[1]

This unprecedented coalition has come together following a year in which BP has been responsible for the largest marine oil spill in history.[2] Despite this, a few months later BP announced that it was heading into an equally if not more risky “unconventional oil” venture: its first Tar Sands extraction project.

Representatives of affected communities, campaigners and shareholders are therefore joining forces to deliver a simple message to BP at its London AGM next Thursday: stay away from unconventional oil, it’s just too risky. There will be a protest outside and around 30 people will enter the AGM to ask questions, deliver the message “No Tar Sands” in a very visual way, and present BP with the not-so-prestigious “International ethecon Black Planet Award” for environmental destruction. [3]

Diane Wilson, a fourth-generation fisherwoman from the Texas Gulf Coast who was recently arrested for protesting against BP and is facing a jail sentence for up to 800 days, will present the ethecon Black Planet award to BP in person, along with the Chairman of ethecon.[4] Diane will be joined by several other representatives from the Gulf Coast region. [5] She says:

“I am coming to the AGM to call BP to account for its actions in the Gulf – for the oil spill, the lies, the cover-ups, the skimping on safety, the deaths, the non-existent documents, the ‘swinging door’ with regulators. The massive nature of the oil catastrophe means it can’t be covered up, even by BP. It’s everywhere, from 5,000 feet down to miles upon miles across and then spread in the ocean’s currents. I am coming to articulate the anger of thousands of Gulf Coast residents whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed while the BP board continues to prosper.”

BP’s decision to enter into its first Tar Sands extraction project [6] will also be criticised by a group of Indigenous activists brought over by the Indigenous Environmental Network. Melina Laboucan-Massimo from the Lubicon Cree First Nation will speak from direct experience about what this kind of ‘in situ’ Tar Sands extraction really involves [7]:

“BP is touting its ‘in situ’ extraction project as an environmentally responsible alternative to surface mining, but it is nothing of the sort. There are many ‘in situ’ mines on my First Nation’s territory. They pollute the water and the air, dramatically disrupt local ecosystems, and emit more greenhouse gas per barrel than surface mining. They are operating on our native peoples’ land without consent and it’s important that BP shareholders understand the risks of legal action from First Nations. BP must do the sensible thing and leave tar sands in the ground.”

The community representatives will be joined by UK activists determined to hold this iconic British company to account for its dirty operations across the globe. Jess Worth from the UK Tar Sands Network said:

“Uncertainty in the Middle East and dwindling supplies of conventional oil elsewhere should be a signal to move into more sustainable forms of energy. Instead, BP is responding by charging head first into dangerous, expensive and highly polluting sources of unconventional and marginal oil, such as Tar Sands, deepwater drilling and the Arctic. Pollution from the Tar Sands is equivalent to a Gulf Coast oil spill every month. The Board has clearly lost the plot so we are going to the AGM to set them straight.”

The coalition[8] will gather together in advance of the AGM for a major public meeting, on Tuesday 12 April, 7pm at Rich Mix, 35 – 47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA. All journalists are welcome.

To arrange an interview with any of the attendees:

UK media call Jess Worth on +447967758641 or email [email protected]

North American media call Clayton Thomas-Muller, Indigenous Environmental Network,

+11 613 789 5653


1.     BP shareholders are angry about a whole range of issues since the Deepwater Horizon disaster. See ‘BP to face tough crowd at meeting’, Guy Chazan, Wall Street Journal, April 6, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703712504576244990369064286.html See also an in-depth analysis of BP’s Annual Report: http://www.cbisonline.com/file/BP%20Annual%20Report%20Assessment%204-4-2011.pdf

2.     11 workers were killed and the ocean and local ecosystems were polluted with 4 to 5 million barrels of oil from BP’s controversial deepwater drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico.

3.     Members of the ethecon Foundation will also be attending to present the award. Together with the positive Blue Planet Award, the negative Black Planet Award is bestowed every year by ethecon – Foundation Ethics & Economics, a German-based international foundation.   For more information on ethecon and its work on BP see http://www.ethecon.org/465, http://ethecon/download/Dossier_Black_Planet_Award_2010_English.pdf and http://www.ethecon.org/download/Open_letter_to_BP.pdf

4.     Read a longer statement from Diane about the situation in the Gulf Coast and her arrests: http://www.ethecon.org/en/1246

5.     Tracy Kuhns, a commercial shrimper from Louisiana and board member of the Association of Family Fishermen, and other fishermen and women are being brought over by the Gulf Coast Fund. Also attending will be Antonia Juhasz, prominent US author, activist and Director of the Energy Program at Global Exchange, who has just published ‘Black Tide: the devastating impact of the Gulf Oil Spill’ which tells the stories of communities and individuals whose lives have been destroyed by BP’s negligence.

6.     In December 2010, BP announced it was releasing $2.5 billion to move forward with the Sunrise Project – a partnership with Canada’s Husky Energy. For more information see http://www.no-tar-sands.org/campaigns/british-petroleum-bp/

7.     Melina Laboucan-Massimo worked on a report that has just been released by Greenpeace Canada about the dangers of in situ mining: ‘Deep Trouble’, http://www.greenpeace.org/canada//deeptrouble

8.     For more information about the members of the coalition, see: Indigenous Environmental Network www.ienearth.org/tarsands.html, UK Tar Sands Network www.no-tar-sands.org, ethecon http://www.ethecon.de/en/793, Rising Tide  http://risingtide.org.uk/, Climate Rush http://www.climaterush.co.uk/, Greenpeace UK http://greenpeace.co.uk/, PLATFORM http://platformlondon.org/, Gulf Coast Fund http://gulfcoastfund.org/, Global Exchange http://www.globalexchange.org, This is Ecocide http://www.thisisecocide.com/, Trees Have Rights Too http://www.treeshaverightstoo.com/

One Response to “BP under fire at AGM for taking unacceptable risks.”

  1. […] a press release about the upcoming action, Diane stated: I am coming to the AGM to call BP to account for its […]

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