BP clean-up operation 'a fiasco'

 

Frustrated protesters claimed today that oil giant BP's clean-up operation in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico disaster had been a "complete fiasco".

Gulf Coast community representatives and environmentalists opposed to oil exploration in Canada's tar sands joined forces outside the group's annual meeting to get their voices heard.

Surrounded by banners reading "BP out of the tar sands" and "BP your party's over", the gathering claimed BP's efforts in the Gulf Coast have been insufficient.

BP has so far paid around 7.5 billion US dollars (£4.7 billion) in clean-up costs and compensation, with more than 200,000 individuals and businesses claiming compensation from the 20 billion US dollar (£12.5 billion) fund set aside for victims of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Chief executive Bob Dudley told shareholders that BP's guiding principle on the clean-up was "not to do the minimum as required by law, but to do the right thing".

He added: "We have continued to devote people and resources to the area and we are seeing recovery. The beaches are open and 2011 was a great year for tourism. Independent studies have shown that Gulf seafood is safe to eat."

However, Derrick Evans, from Gulfport, in Mississippi, a representative of the independent Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health, said more needs to be done.

"The oil is not gone," he said outside the Excel centre in London. "The general perception is that BP made a mess and BP did a big clean-up and everything is all fine. Nothing could be further from the truth."

The Gulf Coast Fund, which has not received any financial support from BP and relies on community donations, has paid out 4.5 million US dollars (£2.8 million) to families hit by the disaster.

Mr Evans added: "From the beginning it's been a big PR spin rather than a qualitative effort to clean up the oil.

"It's been a complete fiasco," he added. "Friends, family and complete strangers to me are living with abject uncertainty about what the future holds for them."

Clayton Thomas-Muller, who is the tar sands campaign director for the Indigenous Environmental Network in Canada, urged shareholders to call for a withdrawal from the area in Alberta, Canada.

PA

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