News / USA

BP Agrees to $20 Billion Fund After Meeting with Obama

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with BP executives in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, 16 Jun 2010, to discuss the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with BP executives in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, 16 Jun 2010, to discuss the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

Multimedia

In a meeting on Wednesday with President Barack Obama, BP executives agreed to create a $20 billion fund to compensate people and businesses harmed by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  BP's chairman apologized for the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, saying that BP is "fully aligned" with Mr. Obama and his administration on the need to stop the leak and compensate for damages.

After weeks of criticism that he should have held a face-to-face meeting with BP officials long ago, President Obama sat down with BP board chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward, and other officials and company lawyers.

The meeting lasted far longer than expected.  When he finally appeared before the media hours later, President Obama addressed the key outcome of the discussions.

"This $20 billion will provide substantial assurance that the claims people and businesses have will be honored.  It is also important to emphasize this is not a cap [a maximum amount of money]," said President Obama. "The people of the Gulf have my commitment that BP will meet its obligations to them."

The independently-administered fund will be overseen by Kenneth Feinberg, the attorney who oversaw a fund that paid compensation to families of victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States

Calling the talks with BP "a good start," the president said the company also agreed to set aside $100 million to compensate oil workers who are unemployed because of the government-imposed ban on new offshore drilling.

Speaking to reporters outside the White House after the president, BP Chairman Svanberg announced that the company's board decided that the firm will not pay dividends for the rest of the year.

He issued an apology, saying that BP is determined to regain the public's trust.

"I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the American people on behalf of all the employees in BP, many of whom are living on the Gulf coast," said Carl-Henric Svanberg. "And I do thank you for the patience that you have [had] in this difficult time."

Svanberg declined a specific answer when asked whether BP took safety shortcuts that contributed to the oil spill, saying only that the company is conducting a series of investigations.  He added that BP's board of directors will conduct its own independent investigation to make sure that the root causes of the disaster are understood.

Addressing the nation on Tuesday night, President Obama said the Gulf oil spill demonstrates the need for improved regulation of the petroleum industry.  He also made clear that he wants to mobilize the country and the U.S. Congress to commit to a new energy policy.

"For decades, we've talked and talked about the need to end America's century-long addiction to fossil fuels," said Mr. Obama. "And for decades, we have failed to act with the sense of urgency that this challenge requires.  Time and again, the path forward has been blocked - not only by oil industry lobbyists, but also by a lack of political courage and candor."

With the president attempting to create political momentum to pass energy legislation, a version of which the House of Representatives already has approved, Mr. Obama's speech sparked a new round of criticism from opposition Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell repeated criticism by members of his party that Mr. Obama is trying to use the Gulf oil disaster to advance his political agenda.

"I wish the president would have used this opportunity to focus entirely on stopping the spill and cleaning it up instead of using this crisis as an opportunity to push for a new national energy tax," said Mitch McConnell.

Republicans assert that energy and climate change legislation President Obama and Democratic lawmakers want amount to a tax - including a proposal for a "cap and trade" system to limit carbon emissions by creating a commodity market for them.  

Democratic Senator Richard Durbin reflected feelings in Congress that BP should be prepared to pay long-term restitution for economic and environmental damages.

"I want to make certain that BP continues in business and meets its responsibility, that it sets aside the funds necessary to protect our nation from the damage which they have caused," said Richard Durbin.

With President Obama intensifying efforts to pass energy legislation, the White House announced a meeting next week between the president and a key group of Senate Democrats and Republicans next week.   

The president's face-to-face meeting with BP officials came as the company announced it had set up a second containment system to capture leaking oil.

Government scientists say as much as 60,000 barrels of oil have been leaking from the damaged well - 50 percent more than earlier estimates.

Earlier, BP pledged to increase capture rates to more than 50,000 barrels by the end of June.  But the new figures have increased concerns that the environmental damage caused by the spill will be even more severe before BP can complete relief wells in August.


Related video report by Mil Arcega:


You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
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.

AppleAndroid