BP has responded to recent statements by Louisiana officials, issuing a press release yesterday by e-mail.
The company's head of US Communications Geoff Morrell wrote that:
"Any suggestion that BP has failed to address the clean up of the Louisiana coastline is both false and irresponsible. The facts, however, are irrefutable and our progress in Louisiana has been significant.
"Patrolling and maintenance activities continue on just 76 of the 3,192 shoreline miles in the area of response, with another 20 miles pending approval or completion of the inspection process. Meanwhile, we have committed up to $1 billion in early restoration funding to expedite recovery of natural resources injured as a result of the Deepwater Horizon accident.
"Overall to date, we have spent $26 billion on response, clean up and claims. Repeated assertions that we have spent more money on advertising than this are grossly in error and seem purposefully intended to mislead the public."
In fairness, BP has invested a small fortune in the region; whether or not it's morally right to issue those "come on down to the Gulf" commercials is open to debate.
While Morrell doesn't specify who or exactly what he's referring to, the relationship between BP and Louisiana officials has been toasty ever since the disaster in April, 2010. Clear back in 2011, WRKF Baton Rouge reported that Garret Graves, Chair of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana, said BP had become increasingly difficult to work with.
More recently, by shuttering active cleanup in Mississippi, Florida and Alabama, the fate of Louisiana beaches could be at risk. Graves and other Louisiana officials sharply question the British oil giant's priorities. Further, there appears to be a disconnect between what even the U.S. Coast Guard says remains to be done, and what Louisiana officials deem necessary. Approximately 100 miles of Louisiana coastline remains soiled, and the effects of dispersant are almost impossible to detect, certainly with the naked eye.
A National Wildlife Federation-sponsored boat ride onto Bay Jimmy, La. by this Examiner in early Apr. was frustrating. Oil had appeared in the marshy area just prior to the trip, but was invisible that day. After Hurricane Isaac, the area had been a mess. A good wind or storm blows the oil elsewhere.
And remember: the point of the deadly dispersant Corexit was to make the problem appear corrected. That was hardly the case.
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