Thursday, June 10, 2010

BP accused of 'lack of integrity' by US House speaker

BP accused of 'lack of integrity' by US House speaker

An aerial view of the work to recover oil from the Deepwater <br />accident site, 9 June 

BP is working to contain the spill having failed to plug the leak

US House Speaker Nancy
Pelosi has accused BP of a "lack of integrity" when making its case for
deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

US President Barack Obama has met relatives of the 11 workers
killed in the explosion on the BP oil platform in the Gulf.

BP shares in the UK have fallen to their lowest level since
1997 amid fears of huge US penalties.

The US attorney general said America would "not pay a dime" for
cleaning up.

BP would be held responsible for all damages, Eric Holder said.

In another development, the Obama administration said BP had
agreed to quickly meet the compensation claims of businesses and
individuals whose livelihoods had been disrupted by the spill.

Amid concerns in the UK over what some have described as
growing anti-British rhetoric, the US state department insisted
relations with America's "closest ally" would not be hurt by the oil

Mr Obama has himself come under mounting political pressure
over his handling of the crisis.

Oil has been leaking into the Gulf since the Deepwater Horizon
rig exploded on 20 April and sank off the coast of the US state of
Louisiana, killing the 11 workers. 'Not a dime'

"It is clear that there was a lack of integrity on the part of
BP when it came to what it told us about the adequacy of their
technology, the sufficiency of blow-out prevention and the capacity to
clean up," Speaker Pelosi said.


Mark Mardell

The fact that Mr Hayward is not American has
probably made him all the more irritating to his US audience

Mark Mardell
BBC North America editor

Mark's thoughts in full

Addressing reporters at the White House, she agreed with calls
for BP to suspend its dividend to ensure that compensation is paid to
Gulf oil spill victims.

Mr Obama said he and congressional leaders had agreed that they
should look at how to update US law to ensure victims of the Gulf oil
spill were protected.

Pollution legislation was written before the industry had
developed ultra-deep water exploration and ought be brought up to date
to ensure the people of the Gulf "are made whole", he added.

Mr Obama met families of those killed in disaster at the White
House on Thursday.

A man whose son was among the dead said the president had told
the families he would not forget about them. Keith Jones, a lawyer from
Louisiana, described the meeting as a "very positive experience".

Mr Jones said Mr Obama had played with his four-week-old
grandson, whose father Gordon was an engineer on the oil rig.

Barack Obama (right) in talks with congressional leaders including<br /> Nancy Pelosi, 10 June 

Mr Obama met Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders

Amid growing public anger in the US, Mr Obama is keen to show
he is on top of the situation and will make his fourth visit to the
region on Monday.

His administration has been steadily applying more pressure on
BP, and the US justice department is considering legal action to make
sure BP has enough funds to cover the damage and compensate those
affected by the slick.

"I can make this pledge to the American people - that the
American people will not pay a dime for the clean-up of the Gulf region
and that BP will be held responsible for all the damages that have
occurred," Mr Holder told reporters in Washington.

"We will take the necessary steps to make sure that that

Tracy Wareing, an official at the US National Incident Command
office, said an understanding on expediting the payment of claims had
been reached at a meeting with BP executives including CEO Tony Hayward.

Administration officials had raised a "pressing concern" about
the time BP was taking to provide relief payments, particularly to
businesses in the stricken area, she added.

Shares fall

BP says a containment cap system placed on the blown-out well
last week collected 15,800 barrels of oil on Wednesday - slightly up on
the 15,010 barrels collected in the previous 24-hour period.

The company has come under increasingly sharp attack by some US
politicians for its handling of the spill, described as the worst
environmental disaster the US has faced.


hares in the British oil giant have nearly halved over the
last couple of months.

The UK government on Thursday sought to play down fears
expressed by some senior political and diplomatic figures of
"anti-British rhetoric" in the US.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who will discuss BP with
President Obama this week, said he understood the US government's

US state department spokesman PJ Crowley said the spill was a
matter between the US and BP, not the UK.

"BP is a private company and this is about the impact of a
tragedy in terms of the explosion of the oil platform and the resulting
oil spill," he told reporters.

"This is not about relations between the United States and its
closest ally."


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