As Spill's Cost Top's $2B, BP Takes PR Beating

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WASHINGTON -- The cost of responding to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has now reached $2 billion.

Seeking divine help for this historic disaster, Louisiana lawmakers authorized Sunday as a "Day of Prayer."

However, British Petroleum may be paying an even heavier price in the court of public opinion.

"BP has either been lying or grossly incompetent from day one," said Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

Critics are fuming because BP - from the very start of the disaster - has been estimating that up to 100,000 gallons of oil were being released into the Gulf, while publicly it claimed only 5,000 gallons a day were leaking.

Company officials said the larger number doesn't really matter, since it was based on a "worst case scenario." Nevertheless, it's given new fuel to angry Gulf Coast residents and business owners who question the oil giant's integrity.

"Since day one BP has been lying about everything that is involved in this oil spill," said one Gulf resident.

"I'm outraged, but more than anything I'm disheartened by it," another resident said. "If you can't trust them with a statement like that - then the statement that they are going to clean it up. You can't trust that either."

As if things couldn't get any worse, over the weekend BP CEO Tony Hayward made a public relations blunder when he was caught taking a break from the crisis aboard his yacht in southern England.

"I thought that was the height of stupidity," Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., told CBS's Face the Nation. "And I believe myself that he should go."

"So he got his life back," one resident observed. "I guess he never lost his life. So I guess we're still working on ours."

Meanwhile, the economies of the Gulf Coast have already taken a major hit.

A federal judge is presiding over a lawsuit on Monday, in which several oil companies have made the claim that the government's moratorium on offshore drilling will cost Louisiana thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in lost wages.

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John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Anchor

John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at