News / USA

BP Faces Mounting Pressure Over Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Response

BP CEO Tony Hayward, standing in the BP command center, updates reporters on efforts to clean up the catastrophic oil spill off the Louisiana coast (File Photo)
BP CEO Tony Hayward, standing in the BP command center, updates reporters on efforts to clean up the catastrophic oil spill off the Louisiana coast (File Photo)

Pressure is mounting on BP as the energy giant faces a deadline to come up with a better plan to stop the oil flow into the Gulf of Mexico.  The White House says it will press the company this week to set up an account to make sure that legitimate claims filed by individuals and businesses hurt by the disaster are paid.  

On Friday, the U.S. government gave BP 48 hours to provide a better plan to contain oil leaking from its damaged well in the Gulf of Mexico and to speed up its recovery effort.

Nearly two months have passed since a fire aboard an oil rig triggered the worst oil spill disaster in U.S. history.  BP has struggled to find ways to stop the flow of crude from the ruptured underwater well.  Scientists estimate that between 950,000 to 2.5 million barrels of oil have spilled into the Gulf.

Last Thursday, BP presented the U.S. government with a plan to double the amount of oil it is collecting.  But the company says that it will not be until mid-July that a more permanent cap on the well can be put in place.

U.S. President Barack Obama is stepping up government efforts to control the spill.  Over the weekend, he spoke with British Prime Minister David Cameron, and on Monday he is expected to make his fourth trip to the Gulf Coast since the crisis began. President Obama is scheduled to make a nationally televised address on the spill on Tuesday evening, after he returns to Washington.

On Wednesday, Mr. Obama will meet with BP executives at the White House.

Senior White House advisor, David Axelrod, told NBC television's "Meet the Press" program on Sunday that during the meeting, the president will press BP to set up an account to make sure it can pay damage claims to those who have been hurt by the spill. "We want to make sure that money is escrowed for the legitimate claims that are going to be made - and are being made - by businesses down in the Gulf, people who have been damaged by this.  We want to make sure that money is independently administered, so that they won't be slow walked on these claims," he said.

Axelrod said the administration's mission is to hold BP accountable in every appropriate way.  "I don't consider them a partner, I don't consider them - they are not social friends.  I'm not looking to make judgments about their souls.  I just want to make sure that they do what they are required to do," he said.

U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the head of the U.S. response to the spill, told the CBS television program "Face the Nation" on Sunday that there are concerns about the claims process. "This is not a core function of an oil producing company and they usually retain a third party contractor to do that.  It's not clear to us that there's the right transparency involved concerning the data - how long it takes to pay a claim.  So one of the things we're probably going to be talking about is an independent third party that could administer a fund to make sure it happens quicker," he said.

The British-based Financial Times newspaper reports that more than 160 class action lawsuits have been filed against BP over the damage caused by the spill.  The U.S. Justice Department is also investigating whether BP and other companies involved in the disaster broke the law.

Dozens of Democratic Senators say they will send a letter to the head of BP, calling on the company to set up a $20 billion account, administered by an independent trustee, to pay for cleanup and economic damages caused by oil spill.

In the letter, the lawmakers say the fund will do more to improve BP's public image than what they call a "costly public relations campaign."  They have asked for a response by Friday - a day after the company's chief executive, Tony Hayward, is scheduled to make his first appearance before a congressional committee.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs