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    BP Strengthens Environmental Record

    Oil company donates land in Louisiana for wetlands preservation.

    HOUSTON -- BP plc yesterday signed an agreement with the State of Louisiana and the non-profit organization White Lake Preservation Inc., under which BP will assure the preservation of the 71,000-acre White Lake fresh water marsh in Vermilion Parish, La.

    In addition, BP said it would contribute $1.25 million over a five-year period to establish a fund for the maintenance and upkeep of the facilities. Ownership of the White Lake property and its buildings and improvements will be transferred to the state, but the facility will be operated by the non-profit entity, White Lake Preservation Inc.

    "BP is very pleased to be able to permanently protect this very special environmental asset," said Tim Holt, BP vice president. "It has been in our care for almost 70 years, and over that time we have done our best to assure this critical freshwater marsh retains its habitat value for the transient and over-wintering birds and the aquatic and other species that depend on it. By making this donation we feel we can enhance the value of White Lake by making it available more broadly to researchers and others for study and enjoyment."

    BP and the governor's office developed the donation plan and the BP funding agreement, with guidance from The Nature Conservancy.

    Gov. Mike Foster of Louisiana praised BP's commitment to assuring its preservation. "The state of Louisiana has long recognized the ecological value of the White Lake property, and we are very happy to have BP donate this treasure to the state," he said. "BP's actions speak volumes about [its] vision and leadership in helping to conserve important natural resources."

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