CHICAGO, June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The following press release is being
issued by Rainbow/PUSH Coalition:
In a stunning development, federal investigators from the Commodity
Futures Trading Commission charged British Petroleum (BP) with price
manipulation. BP's alleged price manipulation conspiracy allowed it to
corner the U.S. propane market in the winter of 2004 and drive up heating
costs and enhance their profit margin by some $20 million. Already, several
BP traders have pleaded guilty to conspiring to manipulate the market or
are facing charges.
"This is yet another example of BP's pattern of Enron-like greed,
gouging and price manipulation. It strengthens our case to target BP with
direct action until the price of gas and energy come down," said Reverend
Jesse L. Jackson.
"BP is a key multi-national player in the global energy market," said
Janice Mathis, vice president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. "There is
tremendous speculation in oil futures that is going unchecked. Congress
must act to regular the future trading market of gas and energy to prevent
BP and Big Oil for manipulating supply and demand to gouge consumers and
hike profits," indicated Janice Mathis, the vice president of the Rainbow
Rainbow/PUSH, clergy and other organizations have launched a boycott
campaign against BP, citing:
1. Gouging and Greed: BP is a leader in Enron-like price gouging and
market manipulation -- in addition to the latest charges, it has been fined
in New Jersey and was hit with market manipulation along with Enron during
the California energy crisis in 2001-02. The oil industry made nearly $100
billion in profits in 2005. BP made windfall profits of $5.3 billion in the
first quarter of this year. It gave its CEO $20 million in compensation
last year, while consumers suffer at the pump.
2. Safety and Environmental Violations: BP has one of the worst health,
safety and environmental records; it received a record $21.7 million fine
for its Texas City refinery explosion that killed 15 and injured dozens. BP
suffered a previous explosion at this refinery killing two, and was cited
in Toledo, Ohio for similar violations. It is under investigation for
spilling in the Alaska oil pipeline and for spewing benzene (a carcinogen)
from its Texas City refinery. It may face possible criminal charges in the
Texas City explosion. "Don't buy gas at BP. It's bad for your health,"
concluded Rev. Jackson.
3. Race Discrimination: BP has the largest share of the African
American market, yet demonstrates a pattern of race discrimination: of a
total of 800, BP has ZERO African American distributors; does less than 1/3
of 1% procurement with minority businesses. It has few to ZERO people of
color in its senior executive ranks.
4. Political Corruption: Big Oil has made huge political contributions
-- $190 million since 1990, 75% to Republicans -- to insure that Big Oil's
interest are placed above the public's interest: VP Cheney's secret
meetings with Enron and other oil executives to set energy policy, last
year's energy bill that gave Big Oil $2.6 billion in tax breaks, and
blocking efforts to place a tax on their $60 billion windfall profits, Big
Oil exerts undue influenced over Congress. "We must break Big Oil's control
over our Congress, and develop a strategy and commitment to energy
independence, research and development of alternative, sustainable sources
of energy," commented Rev. Jackson.
Reverend Jackson concluded, "We are going to engage in direct action
against BP to change their behavior: BP should be indicted for criminal
negligence; government regulations and a cap must be instated to stop price
gouging and market manipulation, and oil companies must pay a windfall tax
on their super-profits. BP must stop discriminating against potential
minority distributors and businesses. We must break the political influence
of Big Oil on Congress and our elected officials -- independently, we will
stand up for consumers and businesses being hurt by these oil companies and
their profit machine."
The Rainbow/PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization that seeks to
protect civil rights, even the economic and educational playing fields in
all aspects of American life and bring peace to the world. For more
information about the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago,
please see www.rainbowpush.org, or telephone (773) 373-3366. To interview
Rev. Jackson on this topic, please call one of the numbers listed above.
Butch Wing at 510-701-8955
Jerry Thomas at 773-256-2714
SOURCE Rainbow/PUSH Coalition