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BP Tars Local Figures

By JoshMogerman in News on Jun 13, 2010 7:00PM

2010_06_13_bp.jpg While the nightmare in the Gulf of Mexico drags on thousands of miles away, impacts and repercussions from the goopy mess have reached all the way into Chicagoland, making interesting theater of the reactions from a wide array of local figures tangentially touched by BP.

Since the spill began, only two non-federal politicians have accepted campaign donations from the beleaguered oil giant, assumedly out of fear of how the association would look to their electorate. Chicago News Cooperative notes that Michael Madigan counts as half of them. Less than a week after the spill began, the Speaker of the Illinois House’s campaign received a $500 check from BP. Madigan has been the recipient of $20,000 from BP over the last decade.

The announcement that the winner of the Crosstown Classic would take home a trophy sponsored by BP looked lame when it was announced in late April. It looks a whole lot worse now that the Cubs-White Sox series has started. Fans at Wrigley booed loudly on Friday when the cup was brought out before the game. Despite the teams sticking with the deal, FOX Chicago News’ Tera Williams was unable to find a single fan willing to say anything positive about the marketing arrangement. (The Sox look for a sweep of the Wrigley portion of the series today, BTW.) Apparently, anti-BP sentiment also bubbled over into the US-England world cup game yesterday as American fans chanted “BP sucks” throughout the game (keep it classy, guys).

In Northwest Indiana, there are worries from civic leaders and employees at BP’s refinery in Whiting over the impact that the spill will have on the controversial expansion plan. The Post-Tribune asks nervously, “Will Gulf oil spill sink BP's Whiting project?” in an article this morning looking at whether the company could conceivably go broke, or be so beset by cleanup obligations that investment in the growing century-old refinery could stall.

Reaction in Chicago has been significantly less supportive of the company, with a high profile protest taking place Friday at the BP Bridge in Millennium Park, the Chicago City Council passing a symbolic resolution, and Jesse Jackson busing angry Rainbow-PUSH protesters to local BP stations and across state lines to the refinery.

And as the president plans to address the nation about the ghastliness in the Gulf, you can expect more Chicago action given the city’s Amoco roots and ongoing Lake Michigan concerns.