Dean Group Mounts BP Boycott Over Spill

A group of progressives associated with the former head of the Democratic Party is urging supporters to boycott BP until the energy giant cleans up the continuing massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The call for the boycott Thursday by Democracy for America (DFA) comes a month into a spill that still hasn’t stopped, and is leaking as many as 100,000 barrels of crude daily into the waters off of the Louisiana coast, and as President Obama signaled further action as a result of the disaster.

BP, the fourth-largest corporation on the planet, is in the midst of its latest attempt to stop the flow some 5,000 feet beneath of the surface of the Gulf in a maneuver known as “top kill.”

“It’s been over a month and the oil catastrophe caused by British Petroleum in the Gulf isn’t even close to being contained, much less cleaned up. To make it worse, even as we await the results of the latest attempt to stop the flow of oil gushing from the well, BP continues to not allow anyone other than themselves the ability and access to fully investigate the extent of the problems,” DFA Chair Jim Dean says in an email announcing the boycott.

“Why won’t BP share the full information needed to assist in the emergency response and complete understanding of the severity of the disaster? Because, as it stands right now, they have a lot of incentive to never let us know the full truth,” adds Dean, whose brother is Howard Dean, a former Vermont governor and ex-chairman of the Democratic National Committee. “It’s likely the smaller the official estimates of how much has spilled, the lower BP’s liability could be when it comes time to pay for cleaning it up.”

Jim Dean asks supporters to buy “gas from anyone but BP until the disaster is cleaned-up.”

“Clearly, BP’s bottom line is more important to them than stopping and cleaning up the damage they’ve caused,” Dean says. “Enough is enough. It’s time to speak to BP in a language they will understand.”

DFA was founded based on Howard Dean’s campaign operation for his failed 2004 candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president. DFA had been largely devoted to advancing progressive positions in the healthcare reform battle, and more recently, has been advocating for an end to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy which bans gays from serving openly in the armed forces.

In his email, Jim Dean says BP is “extremely sensitive to public pressure right now,” and that a large-scale boycott will create the economic leverage to push the energy giant to act more aggressively to end the spill and clean up the mess.

“By taking matters into our own hands, we’re not waiting around hoping for BP to do the right thing or for Washington to take action. We’re doing something right now — as individuals — that has an immediate impact on BP’s bottom line,” Dean says. “And the longer they take to get the job done, the bigger the impact of our campaign.”

Also on Thursday, Obama held a White House press conference on the month-old oil spill, in which he announced a six-month ban on new deepwater oil wells. The president also vowed to hold BP “fully accountable” for the spill.

The publisher of the news site On The Hill, Scott Nance has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.

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