08/09/2006 08:50 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Bravo BP! Those Record Earnings Really Help. Alaska and the Nation Thank You!

Last quarter BP's earnings stood at $7.3 billions. Another
record. Earnings continue at stupendous levels yet much good that
has done for the care and maintenance of their Alaska pipeline
infrastructure. The level of mismanagement, purposeful or otherwise,
has Rep. John Dingell (D. Michigan) calling for congressional
hearings and expressing his outrage "It's appalling that
BP let this critical pipeline deteriorate to the point that a major shutdown
was necessary".

MSNBC reported that allegations about BP's
maintenance practices have been so persistent that a criminal
investigation is under way into whether BP has for years deliberately
shortchanged maintenance and falsified records to
cover it up. Further, that current BP employees claim they've been
told to cut back chemical applications ordinarily put into the system to
retard rust and corrosion, and to falsify records. That a federal official
confirmed that many of these workers have also talked to the FBI.

In announcing the shutdown BP acknowledged that a key maintenance
procedure to check for sludge otherwise known as "pigging" had not
been performed for more than a decade.

In an interview this week with NBC News, a federal official Thomas J.
Barrett, with the Department of Transportation's Office
Of Pipeline Safety, stated bluntly, "What disappointed me was their
failure to maintain these lines to an accepted industry level of care".

So much for oil company profits, as exemplified by BP, and the use
to which they are put to husband the nation's natural resources.
(see "The Oil/Gas on Federal Lands Belong To Us!"3.24.06)
One must begin to ask whether the nation is being taken
by the oil industry and the deeply vested interests whose
avarice is now veering far afield from the nation's trust and well being.

Oh, one last thing if the above isn't enough. BP, while grievously
shortchanging pipeline maintenance (not to speak of the Texas City Refinery
disaster the year before) found $8.5 billions,
I repeat $8.5 billions, to buy back 725 million of its shares
during the first half of 2006 alone. And to raise its dividend by 11%.

Nice work if you can get it. Thanks BP!