BP: from natural disaster to PR disaster

As the company’s practices and payoffs come to light, they have more to deal with than spilled oil.

As the company’s practices and payoffs come to light, they have more to deal with than spilled oil

“We are taking full responsibility for the spill and we will clean it up, and where people can present legitimate claims for damages we will honor them. We are going to be very, very aggressive in all of that,” BP CEO Tony Hayward told Reuters.

If BP whole-heartedly, sincerely and adequately commits itself to the clean-up and we (fingers crossed) avoid irreparable environmental and economic damage, over the long-term the company could wind up reaping some good press out of this horrific event. However there are already two troubling storylines percolating that could hinder any “happy PR” for the company.

The first evidence of a bad trend comes from the Associated Press, reporting on BP’s lack of preparedness. BP’s 52-page exploration plan for the Deepwater Horizon well, filed with the federal Minerals Management Service, says repeatedly that it was “unlikely that an accidental surface or subsurface oil spill would occur from the proposed activities.”

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