The USHCC Applauds BP America's Record-Breaking Restoration Efforts

WASHINGTON, DC,, May 6, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) applauds BP America, one of the nation's leading energy producers, for making the most substantial investment toward environmental restoration in history following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In total, the company has spent over $26 billion in government claims and clean-up, committed $1 billion to restoration, and has allocated $500 million for independent scientific research over the next decade.

Last week, BP publically announced that up to $500 million in relief funds, initially intended for those damaged by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, may have been unrightfully claimed by individuals who were not affected by the accident – including individuals who lost their businesses long before the spill.

"The USHCC commends BP for its historic investment in environmental restoration and thanks to their efforts, businesses and communities throughout the Gulf region are coming back stronger than ever, tourists from around the world are visiting the Gulf in droves, and America now enjoys the greatest level of energy independence in decades," said USHCC President & CEO Javier Palomarez. "Our organization supports BP's continued efforts to help families and businesses recover from their losses. We also denounce any attempts to commit fraud and receive unwarranted compensation resulting from the settlement. These claims deprive those affected from receiving the support they critically need and deserve."

One year after the Deepwater Horizon incident, both tourism and commercial fishing outpaced pre-spill levels, helping restore and bolster the Gulf region's economy. Moreover, tourism records set in 2011 were broken again in 2012, as visitors from across the country and around the world flocked to the Gulf's beaches. Today, BP is committing $179 million to further promote tourism in Gulf states, as well as $57 million to non-profits focused on tourism and related industries.

USHCC Chairman Marc Rodriguez said: "We applaud BP for exceeding its corporate responsibilities. Our membership is grateful for their strategic investment in America's shores, and small, minority-owned business community."

Ranked number six on the Fortune 100 list, BP generated approximately $147 billion each year through its U.S. operations. As the second largest oil and gas employer in America, BP directly employs 20,000 workers in 45 states and further supports over 260,000 American jobs. Through its key investments in diversity and inclusion programs, BP continues to harness America's most abundant and high-yielding resource: minority-owned businesses. In 2012 alone, BP conducted hundreds of millions of dollars with small and minority-owned businesses, and continues to invest in America's fastest growing entrepreneurial segment.

About the USHCC

Founded in 1979, the USHCC actively promotes the economic growth and development of our nation's entrepreneurs. The USHCC advocates on behalf of nearly 3.2 million Hispanic-owned businesses, that together contribute in excess of $468 billion to the American economy, each year. As the leading organization of its kind, the USHCC serves as an umbrella to more than 200 local chambers and business associations across the nation, and partners with more than 220 major corporations.

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CONTACT: Ammar Campa-Najjar USHCC Communications Manager 619-721-5148Source:United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce