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No More Money for State Tourism Right Now, BP says

BP has rejected Gov. Charlie Crist's request for an additional $50 million in marketing money to promote the state's tourism industry as it struggles to counter bad press about the efffect of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill on Florida shores.

Speaking about the company's decision at a round table discussion in St. Petersburg Tuesday, Crist said he was considering bringing in lawyers to try to secure the money.

"We're trying to force them to do the right thing, like they say they're doing in their commercials," Crist told the St. Petersburg Times Tuesday.

BP has already given Florida $25 million for state and county tourism marketing campaigns, but those funds have all been disbursed, Crist said. Visit Florida, the state's public-private marketing corporation, says it is in dire need of more funds to counter ads that exaggerate the spill's effects on Florida's coasts. BP said last month that it was committed to supporting the tourism industry, butdidn't mention how much more money it would pledge. The company has been criticized for spending $50 million on its own advertising and public relations campaigns.

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