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The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

BP quietly works the Florida angle in Washington

BP hired a lobbying firm to arrange a private meeting this afternoon with the Florida delegation in Washington. A notice from the Podesta Group stresses that it is "NOT open to the press."

The meeting was with Ray Dempsey, lead of BP's effort in Florida, and Darryl Willis, a VP in charge of claims. "They will be available to answer any questions your boss might have regarding the BP oil spill," reads a message from the lobbying shop.

A staff member inside described the meeting to the Buzz as not quite tense but peppered with pointed questions, mostly from Reps. Connie Mack and Kendrick Meek. A large contingent of lawmakers attended and the "take away," according to the staffer, was that BP needs to develop a Florida specific plan.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, pressed for a claims process for fishermen in her district affected by the slowdown, while Adam Putnam, R-Bartow, inquired about chemicals in the water. Meek, D-Miami, was said to have forcefully questioned BP about his request for $75 million addition for tourism ads. The company has given the state $25 million.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 10:41am]


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