Special Reports

Group pickets local BP station

MANATEE — A group of four women Tuesday picketed a local BP gas station, urging consumers to protest what they said was the oil company’s failure to halt the disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Meg Wittman, a Bradenton resident, said the idea was inspired by a Facebook page urging consumers to boycott BP products.

The protesters carried signs that read: “Boycott the Polluters,” and “42 Days and Counting” near a BP gas station at the intersection of Morgan Johnson Road and State Road 64 East.

It is at least the second such informal group to picket the company locally. A group called Save Our Beaches, led by Manatee High School sophomore Matthew Danziger, has also been picketing during the last couple of Saturdays at Holmes Beach.

“I really want to gain not just publicity towards this, but also just awareness of how bad the situation can get and how we need to do everything possible to fix it and correct it,” Danziger said Tuesday.

Gary D. Brown, the BP incident commander at the U.S. Coast Guard unified command in St. Petersburg, said, “We understand peoples’ frustration with the Deepwater Horizon incident; we also respect their right to peacefully protest and put their opinions out there, and I would say the unified command is doing all that we can to bring this to an abrupt halt as soon we can.”

He noted that there were no confirmed reports of oil washing up along Florida’s coastline from the spill. The oil began leaking in April after a fire and explosion at BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig and well off Louisiana.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7031.