Coast chamber members get the VIBE on BP - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Coast chamber members get the VIBE on BP

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

By Meggan Gray – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Chamber's decision to get the VIBE on BP was obviously a success. Just about every seat in the Knight Non-Profit center's conference room was filled Wednesday morning. 

BP's lead Public Affairs person for Mississippi, Margaret Laney, started things off by saying, "We realize this is a challenging time. Again just to reiterate, we are working to clean up the spill offshore and onshore."

Claims were a main topic of conversation. And while many of the people in the room may not have filed a claim, BP is urging them to do so as soon as possible.

As Laney explained, "We want to honor legitimate claims effectively. These are our priorities."

According to BP, more than 10,000 claims have been filed in Mississippi alone, and so far the company has paid more than $15.2 million.  But some people, like Long Beach business owner Henry Kijonka, are worried the oil giant will eventually run out of money.

"The pie is still in the making so to speak. We have to see if our coastline comes back, if our little critters can return, if our businesses and our people are made as whole as they can be."

Laney told chamber members, "We're looking at a number of different options, and we have talked about selling some assets in order to make sure we have the right size company to move forward and that we have the ability to fund this."

As they've done in every meeting, BP officials promised to be here until the very end.

The other thing BP reiterated at the meeting, was their effort to hire Mississippi employees.  Laney said BP will continue to encourage its contractors to hire locally.

If you have questions about the claims process, or want to keep up with the latest information on the response visit the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber's website. They've created the site as a tool for small business leaders to stay informed. 

You can also visit BP's Mississippi Response site.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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