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BP investors ‘should be suing themselves’: Monbiot

British investors will likely bolster an American class action suit against BP. Lawyers will argue the besieged company skewed its safety record to inflate share prices.

Those same investors turned down plenty of chances to question safety claims when BP’s fortunes were good, contended Guardian columnist and international green activist George Monbiot today. They now “should be suing themselves.”

Over 180 lawsuits connected to BP’s Gulf spill have been filed by American lawyers. Recent evidence suggests the company disregarded proper drilling techniques before its offshore well exploded last April.

Yesterday, investors drove down BP’s share price two per cent. The company’s share value has nearly been sliced in half since the blowout. It claims to have already spent $2 billion cleaning the spill and has committed $20 billion for a compensation fund.

British investors now threatening to sue BP weren’t exactly clamouring for transparent safety records before the spill, Monbiot argued today.

“They might not have been warned by BP, but they were warned repeatedly by environmental groups and ethical investment funds.

“Every year, at BP's annual general meetings, they were invited to ask the firm to provide more information about the environmental and social risks it was taking. Every year they voted instead for BP to keep them in the dark,” Monbiot wrote.

Meanwhile, BP has hired a “formidable” team of lobbyists to fight negative perceptions on Capitol Hill, the Washington Post reported last week.

Anadarko Petroleum, which owns 25 per cent of BP's ruptured well, recently stated: "BP operated unsafely."

Execs at Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, Shell and Chevron – some of the world’s top energy companies – have also attacked BP’s safety record.

Geoff Dembicki reports for the Tyee.

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