Frustrated Gulf Coast mayors confronted a BP official during a news conference Saturday after they said requests to meet with high-ranking executives at the oil company went unanswered.
The incident occurred as BP’s senior vice president briefed reporters in Mobile, Alabama, about the ongoing efforts to contain the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Bob Fryar said an operation underway to funnel crude from the underwater gusher to a surface vessel was going “extremely well,” and that he was “pleased” with the effort thus far.
Robert Kraft, the mayor of Gulf Shores, took issue with that characterization, saying, “I don’t know who represents you in our community, but I would love to have one of your guys go down and look at our beaches and tell me that what you see is effective and is working.”
Fryar responded that he understood the frustration and agreed to meet with him after the briefing.
Mayor Tony Kennon of Orange Beach also used the news conference to get a meeting with the official, saying “if you sensed our frustration, you would have been here a lot sooner.”
“We’ve been asking for a senior BP official (since May 1) to come and sit down and visit with us,” Kennon said, visibly upset. “You show up today, we don’t even know you are coming. So what you say and what you do, Mr. Fryar, with all due respect, are two different things.”
Kennon later told CNN that he met with Fryar for about 45 minutes after the news conference, but said he still had “no confidence” in BP’s economic response to communities hard-hit financially by the disaster.
“(Fryar) made it very clear to us … that (BP’s) first obligation is their shareholders,” Kennon said.
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Article courtesy cnn.com