BP’s new PR campaign avoids real problem

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It’s not surprising to learn that the largest industry in the Gulf Coast is oil, earning $124 billion a year.
The second-largest industry is tourism, constituting roughly 30 to 40 percent of the economy in the area and earning an estimated $100 billion per year.
These two industries are followed closely by fishing and shipping.
When the Deepwater Horizon oil rig sunk this summer and its well cracked, it was destined to pollute the ocean and therefore the Gulf Coast economy.
British Petroleum, who owned and operated the Deepwater, has gone through many different phases in their response to the spill.
Early on, while the well still leaked an estimated 162 thousand barrels of oil per day (over $12 million per day of lost profit, roughly equal to how much oil the entire country of Hungary uses in a day), BP offered compensation to fishermen whose businesses were affected by the spill. Lately, the company has gone to the front lines: Louisiana, Alabama and Florida.
Once there, BP began making videos highlighting the resurgence of the fishing industry, discussing the tourism industry and showing the oil’s “minimal” impact on the health of the Gulf Coast.
BP’s new PR campaign is an attempt to avoid acknowledging the true impact of the oil spill in the Gulf Coast.
A video on the official BP website basically blames the media for the slump in tourism this year, saying that negative press is the only force that has driven people away.
They have also given Louisiana $15 million to advertise and improve their tourism industry. Most reports estimate a loss of over $30 billion in tourism.
To put this in perspective, BP generates $45 million in profit every day. Their stance on the environment has been even weaker.
The oil spill affected thousands of miles of protected wetlands in the United States.
Wetlands are the most ecologically diverse ecosystems on earth, housing many different species of animals with protected or endangered status.
A video on the BP website states that the wetlands will have a “natural” recovery, replenishing themselves over the years, and that as long as the total plant is not damaged (meaning its roots, stem or leaves), the long term impact won’t be noticeable.
By considering the ecological impact of the spill negligible, BP (who often brands itself as “Beyond Petroleum,” a “green” and environmentally-friendly oil company) is sending the message that it is unwilling to care for the Gulf.
The videos on their site depict festivals in the non-affected areas of the South supposedly celebrating the return to normalcy.
Nothing is shown of the water surrounding the area of the spill, the towns who are not recovering or the countless flora and fauna that have died under the oppressive wave of unrefined oil.
Naturally, this incident has turned into a political issue rather than a question of basic humanity.
Does America clean up the planet as best it can and help those that BP has harmed, or should it let the only earth we have fall into disrepair?
Party lines have been drawn. Republicans cringe at the thought of BP paying for their mistake. Democrats want BP to pay up.
BP has not taken enough responsibility for their part in the spill. They have not paid nearly enough to cover the total cost of cleanup and economic impact.
BP should take full responsibility for the spill and pay full reparations for cleanup and lost wages. The oil was their product, and it was their laxity on safety and quality that caused this to happen.

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