Local Oil Clean Up Crews Are Not 100% Locals (VIDEO)


GULF COAST – A top B-P executive visited a local beach today to show off what he calls a nearly one-hundred percent local work force.

B-P has publicly committed to hiring locals to clean up the oil.

But as Channel Three’s Dan Thomas found out… It’s not hard to find the out of towners.

We’re out here at NAS Pensacola. This is right on Barancas Beach here. And you can see what they’re doing is actually wading out in the water and digging out the oil that’s under the sand. And take a look at what’s inside this bag here. This about what they average over the course of about 10 to 15 minutes, is what we’re told and it weighs about 10 to 15 pounds. They say that’s typical of what they’re still getting out here. About a pound every minute. And there’s no machine right now that’s been approved to do this.

“We’re going to have to continue to do it, the good ol’ fashion way which is just hard, elbow grease and hard work.” said BP COO Gulf Coast Cleanup Mike Utsler.

But despite that labor demand, B-P has been laying off workers.

If it’s a manual only task, couldn’t you get it done a lot faster if you weren’t laying folks off?

“Actually, I’ll let trip, help answer this question. but I think there’s two things here. Number one, our commitment was that as the response scale changed, we were going to move more and more towards using local workers. I think one of the things you see here is that we have nearly 100 percent Escambia and Santa Rosa County employees working this response effort.” said Mike Utsler.

In august hundreds told us they lost their jobs while out of towners stayed on.

“Nobody will take care of our beaches like we take care of our beaches. This is our back home.” said now jobless Adam Shouse.

That same day a B-P spokesman told us this.

“They have over 90% of the workers on the beaches they employ are local folks.” said Joe Ellis.

So we asked around.

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know where you’re from?”

“No questions man.”

“Oh, we just want to know where you’re from.”


“Bradenton, Florida?”


“No speak English.”

“No English?”


“Where are you from?”


One of the workers who still had a job was from Cuba. Another one was from South Florida. Are those anomalies? How did that happen?

“I, I, I that’s a good question. I can tell you from my discussions from the team here i believe it is an anomaly. What the team told me this morning for example is, in the total workforce there, it is, today it’s 99% Santa Rosa and Escambia County workforce.” said Mike Utsler.

So we asked around, again…. and it wasn’t hard to find that one percent.

“Where are you from?”

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know where you’re from?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, I’m from Texas.”

“Are you from Pensacola?”

“We are from Miami.”

“Miami? And you don’t speak English very well?”

“Don’t speak English. Spanish.”

“Alright, how many people are here from Miami?

“Miami, ahealia.”

“How many?”


“Quantos, from Miami?”

“Quantos muchos.”

“Muchos? Many people are from Miami?”

“Yes. Memora, ricardo, ehcho effa doira.”

“You all are from Miami?”



By the time we got done talking to the workers, Utsler had left the beach due to a pressing, prior engagement.

We’re told there are multiple subcontractors out here who have hired those workers and one of the owners of that subcontracting company tells us this is likely the last day for people who are working on the project who are not from Escambia or Santa Rosa County.

While Dan was talking to the workers, B-P C-O-O Mike Utsler left the beach for a prior commitment…

Before he left he said he expects the majority of the clean up to be done before spring break…And added that BP will stay here as long as it takes.

See video here: http://www.weartv.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/wear_vid_11234.shtml

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
Cooper Law Firm

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