BP’s PR Doesn’t Make Things Right With Locals – NPR

Posted by Henry Taksier, June 5, 2010

Photo by David Martin/ AP

After President Obama questioned BP’s spending on its image, the company announced it would pay more money to people who’ve filed claims for loss of income due to the oil spill. The move comes after a week of apologies from the company — apologies that some coastal residents say are not enough.

BP’s public relations push this week included a television ad featuring CEO Tony Hayward in a coastal setting, seabirds chirping in the background. “For those affected and your families, I’m deeply sorry,” Hayward said. “We will make this right.”

But in towns on the Gulf Coast, BP has a credibility problem.

“Words are cheap,” Alabama Republican Rep. Jo Bonner says. “It’s time for action.”

Bonner’s congressional district is on the coast. He says nobody has handled the spill properly.

“We are dealing with a catastrophe that we weren’t prepared for. The company wasn’t prepared for it. The government regulators that permitted it weren’t prepared for it. The administration wasn’t prepared for it,” he says. “It’s frustrating beyond words to see people pointing fingers and wasting time about this, that or the other thing while the monster keeps growing.”

The monster being just a few hundred feet from where he sits at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Ala., overlooking a wide expanse of sparkling white sand and blue-green surf.

As kids ride waves on their boogie boards, oil patties are washing up less than a half-mile away, and there’s a lighter-fluid-like odor in the air.

[…]

In Orange Beach, Ala., boat captain David Walter has lost his patience. He builds artificial fishing reefs and hasn’t been able to work since the oil started leaking. BP gave him $5,000, but he says that didn’t even cover a week’s expenses.”

via BP’s PR Doesn’t Make Things Right With Locals – NPR

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