As you may have heard by now, Repower America is currently accepting votes for our 2010 Snake Oil Awards. The idea is to identify the dirtiest opponent of clean energy this year and give it the negative attention it truly deserves. Our campaign director, Dave Boundy, argued that Koch Industries deserves to win the award. While Dave makes a solid case, I’m going to have to disagree. BP is by far the dirtiest opponent of clean energy this year.

By early August of 2010, federal scientists confirmed that the BP oil spill is indeed the largest marine spill the world has ever known. Oil flowed into the ocean for three whole months as BP struggled to stop the leak. And just last week, it was revealed that BP knew the cement mixture in their Deepwater Horizon well was flawed more than a month before the well exploded in the Gulf of Mexico — but they continued drilling anyway.

Worse yet, the purchase of one shut-off switch may have helped to prevent the disaster. Norway and Brazil require these last-resort safeguards, and some major oil companies in the Netherlands and France use remote-control shut-off switches even though they are not required. Why didn’t the Deepwater Horizon rig have these safety measures? Too expensive? Unnecessary? Whatever the reasons were, BP spent more than $93 million on advertising in response to plummeting public opinion between April and September of this year. That’s money that could have been spent on preventing this environmental disaster in the first place.

To top it all off, BP CEO Tony Hayward couldn’t even manage to apologize for the disaster without mentioning the effect that the spill had on his life. Hayward told reporters, “We’re sorry for the massive disruption it’s caused their lives. There’s no one who wants this over more than I do. I would like my life back.” I bet if you watch the clip you’ll want to votefor BP.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

It is pretty obvious to me that BP should win Repower America’s Snake Oil Award. Vote for BP and hold them accountable for their pollution. They deserve it.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free.