Protesters Blast BP for Painting False, 'Rosy Picture' of Gulf

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Common Dreams

Protesters Blast BP for Painting False, 'Rosy Picture' of Gulf

Gulf coast residents facing "epidemic of health problems" and ongoing disaster berate executives

by
Common Dreams staff

A protest banner outside the ExCel center in east London where BP held its annual meeting. (Photograph: Olivia Harris/Reuters)

BP executives faced a storm of angry Gulf coast community members and shareholders at its annual general meeting today. Environmental activists insisted “the oil is not gone” from BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster from nearly two years ago, while some shareholders also questioned the portrayal of a healthy Gulf and executive pay.

Gulf coast residents demanded to know what was in the chemical dispersants and stated that their communities were still facing a "disaster" including an "epidemic of health problems."

Some shareholders expressed concern as well saying that the company wasn't truthful about oil spill information.

Clayton Thomas-Muller, the tar sands campaign director for the Indigenous Environmental Network in Canada, also demanded BP end its involvement in Canada's tar sands.

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The Guardian: BP under fire at turbulent AGM

An attempt by BP management to move on from the Gulf of Mexico crisis that has dogged it over the last two years was undermined at a turbulent annual meeting when the oil group came under fierce fire from its own shareholders.

More than 10% of investors voted against a £4m pay package secured by chief executive Bob Dudley while directors were attacked for continuing safety lapses and accused of painting an over "rosy" picture of the US cleanup. [...]

[A] procession of Gulf residents and long-term shareholders berated the besuited men on the podium who preside over a share price that remains heavily depressed compared to pre-spill days.

One shareholder and former BP employee claimed recent North Sea statistics showed his old company spilling more oil than any other. Another shareholder said statistics on leaks in the BP annual report failed to show a true picture of the problems.

The most potent attacks came from Gulf residents who had flown over to the UK and bought shares in the business so they could challenge the management view that it was business as usual in the region.

Derrick Evans, from Gulfport, Mississippi, said he spoke on behalf of "scores of everyday people." The company had painted a rosy PR picture that "falls short" on the ground, he said, adding that many people in his region faced an ongoing "disaster", while the cleanup operation was a "fiasco".

Bryan Parris, a Houston man, demanded to know what chemicals were used in the enormous quantities of dispersants used to try to keep the sticky crude off the beaches.

He said there was an "epidemic of health problems" due to these dispersants among Gulf residents but his complaints were quickly dismissed by Carl-Henric Svanberg, the chairman of BP, who insisted his company had acted responsibly. "We have done everything we possibly can to compensate those with a legitimate claim."

Shareholders also complained about the company's involvement in the carbon-heavy tar sands in Canada and its role in adding to global warming while 11% of them voted against the company's remuneration package. One shareholder said the pay packets suggested executives might have their "snouts in the trough".
 

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