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Jun 23, 2010 11:06 PM by Chris Welty

New Gulf Spill Cleanup Head Says Job is to Listen

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The man who inherited the Gulf oil spill
response from BP's embattled CEO said Wednesday that Americans have
been too quick to blame his company for the environmental disaster
now in its third month.
"I'm somewhat concerned there is a bit of a rush to justice
going on around the investigation and facts," BP PLC managing
director Bob Dudley said after touring a New Orleans wildlife
conservation center where sea turtles sickened by the spill are
being treated.
The Mississippi native said BP has been unusually open about
making its internal investigation public and shared information
that no other company would.
More work must be done, he said, before blame is assigned for
the April 20 explosion of the offshore drilling rig Deepwater
Horizon, which set off the worst oil spill in U.S. history. BP was
leasing the rig from owner Transocean Ltd.
"So I think there is yet a lot to be done in terms of assessing
responsibility," he said. "I think BP is one of those responsible
parties, but time will tell."
Wednesday was Dudley's first day leading the new Gulf Coast
Restoration Organization, which is in charge of cleaning up the
mess.
"I hope it's a real signal to the country and the Gulf states
that we are putting in place something that will last for years -
once we stop the well, clean it up, restore the Gulf - and the only
way to do that is with a permanent organization," he said.
He said he spent most of the day at the spill command center
reviewing where the oil was going, boom placements and other
details.
Speaking with reporters at the Audubon Center for Research of
Endangered Species, Dudley said his job now is to assure people
that BP is in the cleanup effort for the long term and to listen
carefully to their concerns.
He takes over for British CEO Tony Hayward, who has made a
series of public blunders, including taking a break from the
cleanup to attend a yacht race in England and saying he would
"like my life back."

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