BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Elizabeth Vowell – email
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It's been weeks since oil flowed freely in to the Gulf of Mexico. Now, as fishing waters are back open and beaches are seeing fewer tar balls, it might seem the coastal crisis is diffusing. However, BP's head of coastal recovery says that's not so.
"People are concerned about are we going to continue to be here, and our actions are going to speak louder than our words," said BP Chief Operating Officer Mike Utsler.
Utsler is in Biloxi on his fourth visit to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Previous trips have focused on recovery and clean up operations. This visit is looking at a different type of clean up.
"The biggest change I think is the nature or the type of work we are now doing in support of that cleanup efforts and activities. Certainly, everyone is interested in what's next and how to we move to restoration and recovery as opposed to the response," said Utsler.
According to BP's number two man, even though coastal recovery is far from finished, he also has to focus on restoring the gulf coast's reputation as well as it's environment.
"Most importantly, our reputation in the gulf coast, for the gulf coast being a great place to live, a great place to visit, and a great place to enjoy," said Utsler.
Utsler also met with local businesses about tourism restoration. He said BP is working with individual communities on how to best use its tourism grants.
"Rather than trying to say this is the solution it's actually letting each city and each are develop its own unique strategies," said Utsler.
The BP representative emphasized that his company will continue to support the gulf in both clean up and long term recovery.