After two denials by Louisiana Federal Judge Carl Barbier to stop BP recovery payments to Gulf Coast residents, it seems the company is not best pleased with the state. Now a senior BP executive has accused the leaders of Louisiana of “political grandstanding” and making “patently false assertions” about the company’s environmental record.
That’s right Louisiana, BP is not a bad company, and they are tired of hearing you say otherwise!
Specifically, Geoff Morrell, BP’s vice president of US communications, is responding to comments made by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Garret Graves, Chair of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) of Louisiana and Executive Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Activities.
At a meeting of the Gulf Coast restoration council, Jindal reportedly said that BP has focused too much on its campaign to revive its public image and needs to concentrate on restoration costs. Jindal stated that the company should stop spending hundreds of millions of dollars “telling us how great they are and start proving it by addressing their Clean Water Act and Natural Resources Damage liabilities.”
Offended, Morrell replied that “Their [Louisiana officials’] political grandstanding contains patently false assertions, defies the demonstrated record of environmental recovery that has occurred across the Gulf, and defames the massive efforts of tens of thousands of people to foster prompt recovery and restoration,” according to The Guardian.
In response, Graves called the BP executive’s accusation of grandstanding “laughable.”
“BP is not a victim in this disaster,” Graves told the Associated Press. “No matter what they say or do, the families of the deceased and the citizens of the Gulf are the victims and we are going to fight to hold BP accountable for their actions. BP’s campaign to portray themselves as the victim is shameless.”
As the effort continues for Gulf Coast residents to regain some sense of normalcy and stability, one thing BP would do well to remember is that when you have an extensive record of environmental and worker safety violations, it becomes increasingly difficult for anyone to believe your “mistakes” are just mistakes and not the outcomes of its negligence and its mentality of profit over safety.
BP should be wary of expecting the citizens of the Gulf Coast to forget about the worst man-made environmental disaster in history, which killed 11 men and has caused immeasurable damage to residents’ lives, their environment, and their livelihoods.
Just because BP polluted the Gulf and marshes with the toxic dispersant Corexit in order to hide the oil they spilled, doesn’t mean it’s gone. Nor does it mean the effects of the spill have been repaired. And citizens of the Gulf Coast know it.
Alisha is a writer and researcher for Ring of Fire.