BP contacts can’t answer many questions, no surprise

May 10, 2010

State Senator Don Gaetz emailed last week to the media and his constituents the list of BP Contacts in Florida. I had reporter Ryne Ziemba contact them to find who they were, what were their levels of expertise and how long they have been working with British Petroleum. Four of them took his phone call. Ziemba’s notes are in italics:

Bay County:
Kelly Hart
(505) 320-7703

Vani Rao
(713) 855-8823
BP rep in bay county for public info, since last week. Wouldn’t answer questions about Neil Ostrosky’s background. Wouldn’t discuss her background. She only told me she was a “badged employee of BP”. I asked her a few more questions, she said that she was formerly an “employee for Gulf of Mexico operations” for BP (from Houston office). She implied that she didn’t want to bore me with her long title (claimed that friends at parties got bored of hearing her title, thus I probably would too).

Walton County:
Neil Ostrosky
(281) 455-1142
Neil Ostrosky – community service liason, since last Tuesday, Vani wouldn’t tell me what he did or where he was from. She said that was “distracting”.

Gulf County:
David West
(281) 460-3806
Community Outreach leader, since last Tuesday, wouldn’t give his background. Said he was asked to refer all media inquiries to someone else. When I asked who I should talk to instead, he told me to talk to Liz Castro. However, he didn’t have her number or even know where Liz was based out of (he said he thought she was based out of Tallahassee).

Escambia County (Pensacola):
Lucia Bustamante
(281) 777-8565
Director of Public Affairs for BP since 1999 (from her resume’

Marisa Walker
(832) 451-5380

Santa Rosa County:
Bill Downey
(419) 450-3973

Okaloosa County:

Clayton Cochran
(281) 202-8686
Local community sup coordinator, a couple weeks, north American gas, engineer- 36 – said he could not field any technical questions (even though he’s an engineer).

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  • Bill Tabor May 22, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Gentlemen: The unified command has rejected peat moss oil removal in favor of dispersents. This does not make sense to me. We have 400,000 pounds of moss in trucks ready to make delivery. This is processed moss with 10% moisture and regular peat moss has 70% moisture. The use of dispersents covers up the mess and pollutes the water column. This plan is intended to disperse the oil plume so that the oil will be disguised and BP will have no liability for the oil slick. My phone is 662-773-6200 and I am located in Louisville, MS.

  • Brian C. Abrams May 14, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Good for you Mr. Steck!
    I get the impression that your first email to Mr. Burns did not divulge who you are or your credentials?
    I love your response.
    I see that Bill Burns is with the Florida D.E.P.
    Bureau of Petroleum Storage Systems Enforcement.
    To me his flippant and what would appear to be an ignorant response is very disturbing.

    This should be pushed higher.

  • John Decker May 10, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    everytime someone from bp talks about paying claims, they comment that they will pay all “legitimate” and “appropriate” claims. they rarely just use the word claims by itself.

  • Capt. Randy Cudd May 10, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Unified Command Rejects to Many Sound Idea’s

    I believe the rejection of these idea’s are more about NOT spending money and less about protecting our environment. When I speak about our environment, I don’t want to confuse anyone, I am referring to our beaches and wetland but also I am really referring to our homes, business and our future. Apparently BP and the other Agencies are less concerned about the impact of this SLICK than they are about their immediate payout and CYA.
    We put forth an idea and a plan that has been used for years as a way to limit the damage to be done to our communities. This protects our home from the leaching of toxins into the beaches and wetlands by spreading peat moss and wood chips to bind the fluid sheen into a solid making them easier to recover and much less likely to pollute. This not cheap but it works well.
    This plan was rejected by UC authorities with no scientific bases. Therefore I can only assume that it is a money issue. Who ever is guilty of rejecting these ideas to get in front of this spill should be arrested and tried the criminal they are. To not make every effort to mitigate this situation is a violation of our responsibility, not only to our environment to each other.
    By allowing the fox into the hen house we are making a bad situation considerable worse. BP must be taken out of the loop of authorizing recovery tactics. They must remain liable but they have a conflict of interest as they stand now. By reducing the effort to protect the shores their lack of fore thinking will cost us all for years to come. Once this fluid product arrives it will never be completely gone, not in our life time, to ignore this is ludicrous.