U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) said last week he drafted a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch requesting she prohibit British Petroleum (BP) from claiming part of its Deepwater Horizon settlement as a business expense.
Grivalja said in the letter, which was backed by over four dozen colleagues, that the oil company, which was found to be “grossly negligent” in the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history, would be highly remiss in claiming a tax deduction of up to $5.35 billion following the 2010 incident that killed 11 people and seriously polluted offshore waters in the Gulf of Mexico.
“The tragedy of the Deepwater Horizon must be answered with justice for the people, economy and wildlife of the Gulf Coast - not further tax benefits for BP,” Grijalva said. “(W)thout strict language to the contrary, BP will seek to claim the remaining $15.3 billion as a business expense, displacing the burden of that uncollected revenue onto every other taxpayer while securing a tax windfall worth $5.35 billion for itself.”
BP, which was ordered to pay the settlement, sought to claim $15.3 billion of their $20 billion liability for the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill as a tax deduction. In response, Grijalva chastised the oil giant for its avoidance of accountability as the U.S. continues to recover from the disaster.
“Leaving open the possibility for BP to claim the majority of their settlement as tax deductible expenses only allows the company to exploit the American people once again,” Grijalva said. “Explicit conditions about taxes in settlements are becoming more standard – we’re asking Attorney General Lynch to consider the facts and make it crystal clear that BP will not be allowed to get a tax windfall from the disaster they caused.”
Nine organizations endorsed Grijalva’s letter, including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace USA, The Sierra Club, Public Citizen, Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, Oil Change International, Energy Action Coalition and Institute for Policy Studies – Climate Policy Program.
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