After the explosion at the BP oil rig that killed 11 workers and created one of the nation’s worst oil spills, the oil corporation was forced to open its pocketbooks and dole out millions of dollars in damages to the communities off the Gulf of Mexico in reparation for the damage done to their economies.
Since then, the Associated Press has investigated to see how these funds have been spent.
State and parish officials all along the coast have used significant amounts of BP’s money on gadgets and high tech gear, most of which had nothing to do with cleaning up the oil. Among some of these purchases are laptops and new cars for employees.
Charlotte Randolph, president of Lafourche Parish, used BP money to buy an iPad, claiming she needed it in addition to her Blackberry to communicate with others during the oil crisis. However, the iPad was not purchased until well over a month after the BP well had been capped and much of the oil had been cleaned up.
Mayor A.J. Holloway, who used to drive a 2006 GMC Yukon, now owns a BP paid, new black 2011 Chevy Tahoe 1500 LT that cost over $35,000. A city spokesman said the new SUV was needed to travel to “countless meetings.”
According to BP PLC, they have paid state and local governments at least $754 million, and has paid the federal government almost $694 million. The AP review has accounted for about $500 million of the expenditures, with some of the money not yet spent. $400 million went directly to needs like covering overtime, boosting tourism, and cleaning the oil.
Photo Credit: Shane Anderson sanctuaries.noaa.gov/pgallery/pgchannel/human/human_1.html