SIDEBAR- Local protestors target BP station
A group of local citizens staged a peaceful Sunday afternoon protest at one of Charlottesville's BP-branded fuel stations. The group, numbering over 20 at the height of the Memorial Day event, lamented the disaster caused by BP, as crude oil continues to spew from a broken well that the mammoth company was operating in the Gulf of Mexico.
Organized by musician Brandon Collins, one half of the brash acoustic duo B.C., the protest took place at the Everyday Caf© at 241 Rolkin Court atop Pantops mountain.
Inside the convenience store, a clerk gave the phone number for a district manager for station owner Virginia Oil Company, but he declined comment. Outside, a customer who would give his name only as Gary took a dim view of BP–- and of the protest.
"It won't do a bit of good," said Gary, noting that Americans rely too heavily on motor vehicles to give them up.
The protesters, however, are asking for a variety of measures. One carried a "Boycott BP" sign; another hoisted a placard touting fuel from hemp, a plant whose biomass can reportedly produce 1,000 gallons of methanol per acre but which remains under a federal ban for its similarity to its intoxicating relative, marijuana.
The young man with the "Hemp Fuel" sign expressed enthusiasm that one passing driver might have yelled out, "Good job, hippies!" However, one of his colleagues pointed out that the driver might actually have said, "Get a job, hippies!"
Meanwhile, in the Gulf of Mexico, BP's toxic plume of oil has killed thousands of birds and jeopardized the livelihoods of thousands of humans, as the government estimates that up to 40 million gallons of crude have spilled, the worst environmental disaster in American history.
By the time of President Barack Obama's prime time-televised Oval Office speech on Tuesday, June 15, some scientists were predicting that as much as 100 million gallons had spilled.
–last updated Monday, June 14