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Reporter On Public Gulf Beach: BP Called The Sheriff’s Office On Me

The news from the Gulf is dire. No, not the news about the cleanup progress, which is going– actually, fairly well considering who is in charge. It’s the situation with BP’s on-the-ground cleanup crews that is troubling, as managers are giving journalists a hard time for being on public beaches while telling employees not to answer questions. This from WDSU’s Scott Walker, who was interviewed on Countdown last night about his experience covering the disaster.

Walker, who went up to one of the Gulf’s contaminated shores to interview BP workers, quickly found himself facing officials from the local sherriff’s office called in by BP managers to get him off the beach. As the beach was public, there was nothing they could do to remove him: “go wherever you want,” they told him. Doing so, he found that another BP official had told workers “don’t answer his questions”– and they didn’t, even though another official had told them the opposite.

Walker said that he “absolutely” expected to be disturbed on public land, as reports had come in before, but to BP’s credit, “when we went back this past tuesday for a follow-up, we had no obstructions on the beach. Complete access anywhere we wanted to go, we talked to whom we wanted to talk to.”

Video from last night’s Countdown below:

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