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Obama Wants Independent Third Party to Administer BP Oil Claims Payments

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The Obama administration wants an independent third party panel to take over from BP the handling of claims compensating people and businesses suffering economic damage from the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the administration's point man on the federal response to the spill, said Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation that "We've been very concerned 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 of transparency involved concerning ... how long it takes to pay claims," Allen said. "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."

Thad AllenObama, who has called top BP executives to the White House on Wednesday, is planning to use his legal authority to require the oil giant to put billions of dollars into an escrow account from which claims would be paid, according to published reports. Obama plans to announce the move in a Tuesday night address to the nation on the Gulf disaster, after making yet another trip to the region Monday and Tuesday -- his fourth since the leak began.

Senior White House adviser David Axelrod said on NBC's Meet the Press that "we want to make sure (the) 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. And we want to make sure that that money is independently administered so that there won't be slow-walk on these claims."

Obama said earlier this month that "what I don't want to hear is ... that they're (BP) nickel-and-diming fishermen or small businesses here in the gulf who are having a hard time."

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, whose states is one of those affected by the spill, said that reports Obama would make the announcement before the meeting with BP executives was "a little surprising to me. I mean, normally ...if I were, as governor, trying to make sure somebody does something, I would meet with them before I went on television. But, ...it's up to the president. It's not up to me."

Alabama Gov. Bob Riley said on CNN's State of the Union that all those affected by the spill should be eligible for compensation, ranging from oil workers who are idle because drilling has been halted in the area to storeowners, hotels and fisherman.

Riley said "everyone of them" should get money from BP. "I don't think there is a dividing line. I don't think you can say that one group is going to get it and another one doesn't. If a restaurant in Gulf Shores, Alabama, is off 50 percent because the tourists didn't come, I think he is owed 50 percent of his revenues from last year."

"The same thing with anyone in these areas, because the whole economy is based on the tourist market," said Riley. "And when it goes away, someone's got to compensate them, because most of these people are not going to be here next year if we don't."

Riley criticized the administration for still allowing the response effort to be run by a "committee" rather than a "unified command."

"It's a committee that essentially consists of all of the different federal agencies sitting down here, and as a committee, each one has a veto over whatever policies we have," Riley said.

"Let me give you an example," he said. "The Coast Guard built a plan for Alabama. Someone in the unified command decided that wasn't a good plan and has taken 45 days now to come back and revise a plan that we can stop this oil from going into some of the most sensitive estuaries we have in the state of Alabama."

Meanwhile, on ABC's This Week, House Minority Leader John Boehner said he supported efforts now underway on Capitol Hill to raise the $75 million liability cap so that BP would be responsible for claims beyond that amount. New Jersey Democratic senators Bob Menendez and Frank Lautenberg have sponsored legislation to raise it to $10 billion.

"I believe that lifting the liability cap on BP and for this spill is appropriate," Boehner said. "They should be held responsible for every dime of this cost."
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226 Comments

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punnster

What kind of oversight will be given to that third party to avoid any corruption. That kind of money will attract a lot of crooks. That oversight will cost money. Where that money come from?

June 17 2010 at 1:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
conservgirl8

I think it's a good idea. I think the governors of each state that is involved in this should do it, then the federal government would stay out of it. When they get involved things do not go well or quickly.

June 14 2010 at 11:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
johndeagun

While he's appointing third partys how about a third party investigation into Sestak and Romanoff?

June 14 2010 at 11:00 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
catnight301

If Obama wants to do something decisive, he can suspend the Jones Act like Bush did after Katrina.

June 14 2010 at 9:06 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
ejones6653

There can be no doubt that BP is responsibile for the emergency situation we face. What I see is a whole lot of acting, postering, and ill conceived words used by an inept President. If BP files bankruptcy WE, the US, is in trouble and Obama will look worse than he does already.

We have a problem. Before we start throwing around stupid remarks about blame, law suits, etc, we need to allow BP to deal with the situation and then when the facts are in make a determination as to what needs to happen later. In the mean time US dollars should be used to speed up the relief for affected people and businesses. Then Obama can go after BP.

Way too much anti business attitude in Washington DC right now.

In the mean time damages can be offset by using Coastal people to man efforts to clean up the spill.

June 14 2010 at 7:45 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
LEROY

If BP would have installed a huge inverted funnel over the leak from the start to suck what they could not stop flowing while the are trying to invent something that should have already been online I don't think there would be oil all up and down the coast. It seems to me that BP is just trying to save the well because the resuavar is so large.

June 14 2010 at 7:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steve

I think it is about time someone let us in on what is happening, and the plans to handel this problem. This has not been much of a media even. So far it has just been one bullie after the other bullie, and neither one of them are doing a good job of being a bullie. It like if you are on a ship and a ship yard worker cuts a hole in the bottom of the ship, you do not stand there and say you did it fix it and let the water rise over your head. So the most advanced nation in the world can not plug a hole it the bottom of the gulf. Makes you worry a little. So just fix the leak then go to court.

June 14 2010 at 4:18 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ruthsgardens

The media is running with this story.But how about a few facts about what else has been happening with oil spills that is not covered.Facts from places like Hughes rig counts,Christian Science Monitor etc.And before dems here start pointing the finger at republicans backing oil companies,you might want to check some facts.1527 US rigs,213 Canadian rigs,1090 international rigs.651 rigs between 2009-10.Exxon Valdez ran aground and dumped 10.8 million gallons.There are hundreds of natural oil leaks in our worlds waters.Coal Oil Point off of California leaks 2-3,000 gallons a day.30.2% of Americas oil comes from off shore drilling which also supplies our national reserves and militaries.1.3 million gallons of oil is spilled in US waters a year.Coast Guard reports 250,000 spills from 1971-2000.16% of spills come from on and offshore pipelines.92% comes from onshore pipelines per decade.Only 2% comes from Offshore rigs and pipelines.Since 1960 to date, we have had 267 Gulf of Mexico spills,Northeast US 140,Mediterranean Sea 127,Persian Gulf 108,North sea 105,Japan 60,Baltic Sea 52,UK and English Channel 49,Malaysia and Singapore 39,West of France and North and West of Spain 33,Korea 32.The kicker is that our off shore rigs and pipelines have only caused 2% of Americas spills but by importing oil using tankers has spilled 4.7 billion gallons from 1970-2009.We import 250 billion dollars a year of oil.The Exxon Valdez spill covered 1,300 square miles.If you look at these dates you will see that it is both parties in congress and their lobbyists that are to blame.There are thousands of oil companies in the world.Oversight not control is needed in America.It is time for a change.We need to stop importing oil.We need to drill for our own on and off shore.At the same time we need to seperate those who do the inspecting from those who recieve funds.This is what EPA and OSHA doesand what Mineral Management should do.At the same time we cannot let these committees completely shut down every industry in America which they could easily do upholding standards while the rest of the world abides by none.Getting rid of the lobbyists is a good start.Getting rid of key people in congress allowing all of this to happen is even better.And while they are at it,the government should stop subsidizing rich farmers to not grow and subsidize new farmers to grow.The government began doing this after the great depression to get control of food prices.And the lobbyists don't want it to stop.This began the spider web effect of costing America its greatness of production in agriculture,steel industries and oil industries which results in America becoming an import nation instead of an export nation which we used to be.

June 14 2010 at 3:52 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mystic3k

This oil spill is a sickening wake up call at its best. I believe that BP is not the only one to blame for this. BP can't do anything about this without our EPA oking it. So while we waste time having meetings about what should or should not be done the spill continues. Our past presidents had their hands in this problem as well as most of the shareholders of BP, which is probably most of our legislation. They didn't want to spend the money on the kill switch...well hows that working for them now? Who knows if the kill switch would have worked? This is a horrible situation that has far reaching consequences for everyone on this planet. How can BP possibly compensate everyone? We should be working together as a WORLD to stop this. One president isn't enough! Why aren't we having a special concert, fund raiser, donation spot from the Presidents wife for help?
Hati had all that. Why not our own SHORES?

June 14 2010 at 1:57 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
harrisondawgs

Agreed, the oil spill is not a good thing. However, to those suggesting this is a foul toxic material introduced to mother Earth that could bring the Apocolypse as we know it...Please! Just remember the oil is PART of the planet and has been here for a very long time. Give the planet a little credit and quit letting the doomsayers sway you. My bet is Mother Earth will deal with this tragedy even if we fail but I suggest we roll up our sleeves and get busy doing the best we can to cap and clean it and take measures to prevent it from happening again. This will not cause the end of the world but our stupidity just might.

June 14 2010 at 12:16 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

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