Obama to pressure BP on Oil Clean-Up Financial Responsibility
President Obama’s first face-to-face meeting with BP CEO Tony Hayward on Wednesday is likely to be a little frosty. Reflecting the frustration of Gulf residents and the administration itself, Obama is expected to pointedly address BP’s financial responsibility for the leak and its economic and environmental impact on the Gulf Coast. One request may be that BP set up an escrow account from which speedy payments on claims can be made. Also gaining ground is the demand that BP forego dividend payments to its shareholders pending a real solution to the oil leak crisis.
Almost two months since the BP oil well started gushing crude into the Gulf of Mexico, there has been frustratingly little success in stopping the leak. BP claims that it will be able to extend containment efforts to “capture 53,000 barrels of oil per day by the end of June and 80,000 by mid-July.” While this is a definite improvement over the current 15,000 barrels a day, it doesn’t address the existing oil that has broken up into hundreds of thousands of individual slicks or the main oil slick that now covers an area as large as the state of South Carolina.
Obama is looking for answers as are the rest of us.