Obama to seek BP claims fund

President says BP must set up independent claims panel to compensate oil spill victims.

    Residents of the Gulf Coast say Obama has not shown enough leadership on the oil spill [Al Jazeera]

    "And we want to make sure that that money is independently administered so that [BP] won’t be slow-walked on these claims."

    The disaster has dumped at least a million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20 and sank two days later.

    Compensation claims

    Senior state level officials in Florida and Louisiana have said they want BP to put $7.5bn into the fund.

    IN DEPTH

    In Alabama, Mississippi and Texas, other states affected by the spill, officials have yet to announce how much they want from the company.

    The board of directors at BP will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the issue of compensation.

    Some analysts have raised concerns that claims for compensation and clean-up could bankrupt the energy giant.

    BP said on Saturday that it was "not in discussions with" and had "not engaged any bankruptcy experts".

    Thad Allen, the coast guard official leading the government response to the disaster, has said BP must provide him with a "faster plan" to respond to the disaster.

    Public relations disaster

    A top BP executive admitted on Saturday that tensions are growing between the energy company and the federal government.

    The public relations push from the Obama administration has come after commentators criticised the government for poor disaster management.

    "Obama cannot plug the leak or magically clean up the fouled Gulf of Mexico, but he needs to do a lot more to show he is on top of the mess," The New York Times said in an editorial.

    "It certainly should not have taken days for Mr. Obama to get publicly involved in the oil spill, or even longer for his administration to start putting the heat on BP for its inadequate response and failure to inform the public about the size of the spill."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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