The threat posed to our marine and coastal environment by the Texas oil company, Anadarko

“This government is very clear, we won't let cowboys operate here in New Zealand”. That’s what our Prime Minister John Key said as he welcomed a wagon trail of ten gallon hat-wearing oil executives in Auckland this week.

The thing is, Key is bending over backwards to welcome cowboy oil operators to our waters. And you don’t get more cowboy than one particular Texan company.

The company is Anadarko and they were heavily involved in  the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. It was the worst environmental disaster in American history.

An investigation published yesterday exposes just how involved they were. They were up to their oily elbows in the disaster.

The dirty dossier against them is compelling. The Government's crackdown on our proud tradition of protest at sea looks very much like the direct consequence of some industry lobbying. Anadarko is embroiled in a legal mess because of their role in polluting the oceans. Speaking about the Gulf of Mexico disaster, they have claimed that: “At no time did Anadarko have any input or say in the operation of the well in the planning or execution”. We now know that that isn’t true. In the US, they are being prosecuted under the Clean Water Act and for evading environmental clean-up costs.

In the past year, there have been are at least three major actions before (or pending within) the US courts directly relevant to Anadarko’s reputation as a good corporate citizen and steward of the environment. Two are related to the Deepwater Horizon affair, where Anadarko was intimately involved in approving and funding the details of the well’s operations before the blowout.

If Anadarko were interested in reducing pollution and protecting the sea that we fish and swim in they wouldn’t be going to the frontiers to get at the last drops of oil. They would be supporting a clean energy future for us all. But they are not. They are a roadblock to New Zealand’s future prosperity.

Anadarko don’t want you to know what kind of company they really are. And that’s because they’re a bunch of cowboys.

Read more in the full investigation here.