Louisiana Governor Jindal Not Buying BP Spin on Gulf Coast Impacts

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Have environmental priorities finally trumped extreme right wing politics in the deep south? 

Louisiana’s Republican governor Bobby Jindal has heard enough from oil giant BP, taking them to task recently for destroying sensitive coastal areas during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.

For those of us who live along the Gulf Coast, it’s good to see that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is fed up with BP’s ongoing ad campaign. Designed to greenwash their performance as compassionate and caring, BP‘s ads instead suggest that the families impacted by the 2010 Gulf Coast oil spill are greedy and corrupt – it’s the mirror opposite of reality. 

At a recent gathering of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, Jindal said, “Three and a half years later, BP is spending more money – I want you to hear this – they are spending more money on television commercials than they have on actually restoring the natural resources they impacted.”

Mother Jones quotes Jindal to the Council:  “BP needs to stop spending hundreds of millions of dollars on their public relations campaign telling us how great they are and start proving it by addressing their Clean Water Act and Natural Resources Damage liabilities now.”

Jindal has good reasons to be upset with the oil company, as it appears that their oil spill fund could be as much as $6 billion short.

Jindal also pointed out that Transocean has “stepped up to the plate” and taken care of their financial responsibilities along the Coast, while BP appears to be attempting to skirt their responsibilities. 

But Jindal’s offensive wasn’t going to be met with silence from BP, and the company was quick to tell the media, “Governor Jindal and his aide Garret Graves have completely misrepresented BP‘s record in the Gulf as well as the legal framework under which further funding related to the Deepwater Horizon accident would become available. Their political grandstanding contains patently false assertions, defies the demonstrated record of environmental recovery that has occurred across the Gulf, and defames the massive efforts of tens of thousands of people to foster prompt recovery and restoration. Not that BP or anyone else should be surprised—these recent comments are their latest in a series of over-the-top statements and overblown demands since the accident.”  BP spokesman Geoff Morrell made that comment, according to Mother Jones.

We have exposed the massive PR campaign being carried out by BP, and you can find out about that here

Jindal’s rhetoric is certainly what those of us along the Gulf Coast want to hear, but that may very well be the reason that he is using that kind of harsh language. 

Jindal’s popularity in the state of Louisiana has bottomed out in recent months, and if the rumors floating around the media are to be believed, Jindal is in the running for the 2016 Republican presidential nod.  In the immediate months following Jindal’s tough response to the oil spill, his approval rating jumped by 10%.  Bringing back that same hardline approach to the oil giant could be his way of trying to rekindle that sentiment.

More reason to doubt Jindal’s sincerity comes from looking over his campaign finance records.  The oil and gas industry represents Jindal’s #2 overall campaign donor, giving the politician more than a quarter of a million dollars during his short career.  If a potential presidential run is in his future, he will need to keep those oil industry friends happy.

Compounding matters for Jindal is the fact he was an ardent supporter of deregulation for the oil industry, a factor that many correctly attribute as the cause of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Jindal’s motives may be questionable, but at this point, its hard to be angry about them.  BP is taking advantage and demonizing the victims along the coast, and, even if it is for self-serving purposes, it is comforting to hear a politician taking them to task for their actions.

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine, and his articles have appeared on The Huffington Post, Alternet, and The Progressive Magazine. He has worked for the Ring of Fire radio program with hosts Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Mike Papantonio, and Sam Seder since August 2004, and is currently the co-host and producer of the program. He also currently serves as the co-host of Ring of Fire on Free Speech TV, a daily program airing nightly at 8:30pm eastern. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009.  Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced.

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