BP picks up tab for city’s fireworks

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 3, 2010

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) — The fireworks display in the city of Durango will go on thanks to embattled oil giant BP.

The company stepped forward to pay for the annual July Fourth display back in December, five months before the start of its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The display typically costs $15,000, and city officials were poised to cancel it because of a budget crunch. But representatives of BP’s office in southwestern Colorado surprised the council by announcing the company would pick up the tab.

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Company spokesman Curtis Thomas said the company knows how important the celebration is to the community and didn’t want it to be lost.

He said BP hasn’t asked for any advertising in exchange for its donation.

BP America drills for natural gas in Colorado. It was fined $5.2 million this week for allegedly submitting false reports about energy production on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation near Durango.

The U.S. Department of Interior said the company at times reported erroneous royalty rates, or listed gas coming from the wrong wells.

BP said the mistakes led it to underpay the Southern Utes about $200,000, money it says it has repaid the tribe.