Boycott BP? Protesters Want to Hurt Oil Giant in the Pocketbook - NBC 6 South Florida

Boycott BP? Protesters Want to Hurt Oil Giant in the Pocketbook

Others say boycott hurts station owners, employees - not BP



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    GULF OF MEXICO - MAY 09: A drilling platform is seen near the site where the Deepwater Horizon oil platform sank as work continues to contain the oil leak on May 9, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. The Deepwater Horizon oil rig operated by BP is leaking an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf and the slick has now reached nearby land. Efforts to contain the spill, including a 98-ton containment box to cap the leak, have done little to slow its flow. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

    There's a push to boycott BP, as the company struggles to cap the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico more than a month later.

    But some argue a boycott would be misdirecting frustration at small business owners who would end up taking the hit instead. 

    So many Americans feel compelled to do something, as they often do during a tragedy. Clean beaches. Help wildlife. But would a boycott of BP have the intended effect?
    Protesters shouted “BP: Bad People!” at a protest outside a downtown MiamiBP gas station Thursday, as well as other pickets around the country from Los Angeles to New Jersey.
    It's not yet a monumental boycott. “I don’t think they meant to,” said BP customer Michael Carreras. “Anyone can make a mistake.”
    But some people would like to make it bigger to hit BP where it hurts.
    “Why is nobody giving a damn?” is what J.J. Colagrande said to himself as he was watching the coverage of the spill and just finally said enough is enough. He organized the Miami protest against the BP spill and intends to organize more protests.
    "It's a crime to humanity,” he said, “In history of all history, there's never been a moment in time when we as humans have done such a deed to our planet, as this thing going on right now, and still going on right now. as we speak."
    But BP doesn't own the downtown Miami gas station. In fact, BP doesn't own any gas stations in Florida or across the United States. So is the boycott against BP hurting BP?
    "I understand their frustrations," said Max Alvarez, who owns or supplies 350 gas stations in South Florida, 120 of them BP, including the one in downtown Miami where the protest was held. Alvarez says the boycott is hurting the station employees, the people who supply the groceries and everything else that goes with running a small business.
    "So i understand what they're trying to do,” he said. “I just feel they are not doing it the right way."
    "But there's a larger issue at stake here too,” counters Colagrande. “You gotta do something! Write to someone. Get out on the streets. Do something that shows you that people care."
    Even national conservation groups don't agree: Public Citizen has launched a web campaign to boycott BP.

    And the Sierra Club wants BP held accountable by the government and is renewing efforts to ban offshore drilling altogether.