By ROBERT STANTON
Saying that BP has failed to settle with thousands of victims of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill last year, protesters targeted the oil giant’s Houston headquarters Thursday to make their concerns known.
Operation People for Peace, the organizer, made Houston its fourth stop on a protest mission that included BP facilities in Florida, Alabama and Louisiana. But their effort to meet with Lamar McKay, chairman and president of BP America, fell short.
BP security officials told the roughly 25 protesters to air their concerns to Ken Feinberg, the government-appointed administrator of the $20 billion compensation fund for Gulf Coast oil spill victims, or to attend BP’s stockholders meeting next spring.
Participants in the protest at BP America, 501 Westlake Park Blvd., included human rights activists Dick Gregory Art Rocker, chairman of Operation people for Peace, and E. Faye Williams, chairwoman of the National Congress of Black Women. They were joined by activists with Occupy Houston, the local arm of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
“We are in it to win it,” Gregory said. “We will treat them, now that we know how dirty they play, like rats and roaches and mice in a dark room. You don’t shoot ‘em, you don’t cuss ‘em, you turn the light on.”
BP spokesman Tom Mueller said the company “appreciates their right to protest,” but added that BP does not manage the claims process. “So the appropriate place for these comments and these concerns to be aired is with Ken Feinberg.”
Many of the victims of the costly Deepwater Horizon disaster have yet to be compensated for their losses, Rocker said in a prepared statement.
“Many individuals were severely damaged and have not been compensated for their losses, despite our best efforts to date,” the statement read. “Most of these people are minority and poor people who BP has chosen to ignore while settling with other people who are well connected politically.”
The Deepwater Horizon disaster, the largest offshore oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry, killed 11 men working on the BP-leased Transocean rig. The spill released an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana. After spewing oil for three months, the wellhead was capped in July 2010.