Obama Officials Seek Clarification From BP on Damage Payments

Posted May 15, 2010 at 2:25pm

As the Obama administration advances its “get tough on big oil” posture, two Cabinet secretaries wrote to the chief executive of BP on Saturday, demanding a clarification on whether the company is willing to fully compensate the government and other aggrieved parties for damages associated with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Writing that the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill “may prove to be one of the most devastating environmental disasters this nation has ever faced,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano asked Anthony Howard, the group’s chief executive, to clarify remarks company officials have made about their willingness to pay for the disaster.

Noting that company officials have publicly expressed their willingness to compensate those parties affected by the spill, Salazar and Napolitano wondered whether the company would be willing to exceed the statutory cap of $75 million for damages that is usually applied to situations like the oil spill.

“The public has a right to a clear understanding of BP’s commitment to redress all of the damage that has occurred or that will occur in the future as a result of the oil spill,” Salazar and Napolitano wrote.