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BP responds to LI lawmakers' letter of concern

WASHINGTON - Six weeks ago, three Long Island lawmakers wrote BP to ask for training and consultation with local officials to limit any potential damage of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to New York's coasts and the Fire Island National Seashore.

Thursday, they finally got BP's one-page answer.

"Basically a form letter," said Rep. Pete King (R-Seaford).

"BP's response to our letter is indicative of their response to the whole oil disaster: 'Trust us,' " said Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington). "Well, I don't."

In the letter, David Nagel, executive vice president for BP America Inc., wrote, "I can assure you that BP shares a strong sense of urgency in addressing the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico."

Nagel said BP is working to contain and capture the spill, and that along with federal agencies it's monitoring the spill's path. BP will work through the Unified Command set up by the government, he said.

"We will honor our legal obligations with regard to the environmental and economic impacts of this spill," he said.

But Nagel did not address lawmakers' requests for training and consultation, nor did he respond to the request that BP "deploy the best technology" should oil reach New York.

"I'm pressing the administration to ensure that BP and the relevant agencies develop a real plan of action for the possibility of oil hitting our shores," Israel said.

"This letter is not very reassuring," said King, who also wrote the White House to request it make plans.

"BP has been continually wrong from the start. At least, though, we have put them on notice."

Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) also signed the letter to BP, but didn't respond to a request for comment.

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