Local Businesses to U.S. Chamber: You Don’t Represent Us

In an unsurprising but still unsettling move, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ignored thousands of its members to support one large member: BP. As you know, BP was found to be grossly negligent in the 2010 Gulf Coast disaster. Just one day later, the U.S. Chamber filed a brief with the U.S.  Supreme Court supporting BP’s decision to ignore a settlement to which it agreed and stop supporting businesses it harmed during the spill. BP and the U.S. Chamber want the Supreme Court to hear the case and support BP.

Illustration via Greenpeace

Illustration via Greenpeace

The local businesses that would be affected by this have said: No more. Several Gulf area chambers filed an opposing brief against the U.S. Chamber’s brief:

These Affiliates and their members wish to inform the Court of their disagreement with, and objection to, the amicus brief filed by The [U.S.] Chamber in support of [BP], as The [U.S.] Chamber does not speak for these Affiliates and their members in this instance….

The [U.S.] Chamber purports to speak for “more than three million U.S. businesses and organizations of every size, in every industry, and from every region of the country”…, yet it fails to disclose that hundreds, and potentially thousands, of Affiliates of The [U.S.] Chamber and business members of those Affiliates have filed claims for business economic losses in reliance on …the very compensation system [BP] designed, lobbied for District Court approval of, attested to the adequacy and fairness of under oath, and initially defended before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals….

Unfortunately, with this issue of utmost importance to the many small business members that were deleteriously affected by the [BP]’s gross negligence, the opinions of these members were not solicited, and when expressed were not respected. The [U.S.] Chamber obviously did not and does not serve as the “voice” of these members, as it misstates in its amicus brief….The Chamber serves the express interests of a foreign corporation at the expense of a very large number of its Affiliates and individual business members.

(Emphasis added, but hardly needed.)

The Chamber has chosen to support one large foreign company who pled guilty to criminal charges over thousands of local American businesses hurt by gross negligence. Need we say more?

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