BP’s new blame-spreading report upsets coastal community

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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Gulf Coast residents are fuming at oil giant BP’s report, released Wednesday, in which BP says it isn’t fully at fault for the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Cindy Hopkins, a charter booker at Outcast Marina in Orange Beach, Ala., said she thinks it’s only typical of BP to try to pull blame off itself.

“When they were hiring people other than the locals, it shows they haven’t been doing what they say they would from the get-go,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins said the federal government hasn’t been much help either, and should have gotten involved right after the spill to push BP to keep its promises.

“People down here are hurting for money,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins’s longtime friend and charter boat captain William Allen “Rookie” Kruse committed suicide in late June after, according to friends, he was depressed about having to go work for BP, using his boat as a cleanup boat instead of its intended use as a fishing boat.

Former cleanup worker James Martin isn’t surprised either by BP’s public relations stunt, but he is shocked at how ineffective the oil giant has been at shaping public opinion. Martin does, however, think BP shouldn’t be entirely to blame as Transocean and Halliburton made money from the rig as well.

“What they should do is judge it by profitability,” Martin said. “Something like 68 percent of the profit from the Macondo well went right into BP’s pocket.”

Hopkins said BP hasn’t picked all the oil up and her clients come back regularly reporting seeing small plumes throughout the area.

“There’s people taking photos and putting them up on the web,” Hopkins said.

Business hasn’t been so great this year at the Outcast Marina, either. Hopkins said Outcast depends on seasonal business, and since the oil spill impacted the peak season, it’s almost like losing a whole year of business.

“Summer fishing is so popular in our area and that’s we do almost all our business,” Hopkins said.

Also, Hopkins said BP hasn’t kept to its commitments on cleanup. She said there’s still oil on the beaches and mixed with the sand, and there aren’t any cleanup workers out there picking it up.

Martin worked in Louisiana on two different cleanup teams but isn’t down there anymore.

As for how the oil spill affected the fish in the Gulf, Hopkins said she’s not sure.

“I don’t [if the fish are still alive],” Hopkins said. “If they were, I don’t know if I’d want to eat them.”