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)
William Ide

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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid