Jane Van Ryan
Posted June 11, 2010
The Gulf oil spill became an international political issue yesterday with British lawmakers bristling at the suggestion that BP should pay the salaries of Gulf Coast energy workers who lose their jobs under the administration's six-month drilling moratorium.
As we reported, legal experts say there are no laws or court precedents that require such compensation, a fact that apparently led President Obama to direct Congressional leadership to "update the laws to make sure that the people in the Gulf, the fishermen, the hotel owners, families who are dependent for their livelihoods in the Gulf, that they are all made whole..." (The Wall Street Journal)
The British government issued a statement asking the United States to "remember the economic value BP brings to people in Britain and America," and expressed concerns about pensioners who depend on BP for their livelihoods. BP is considering delaying or reducing its quarterly dividend payment to its shareholders.
BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg will have the opportunity to respond directly to the president next week. In a letter from Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, he and other BP officials have been invited to a June 16th meeting with senior administration officials. The president is expected to attend part of the meeting.
In other news about the spill:
- Congress sent a bill to the president transferring money from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to pay for response efforts.
- Government estimates of the oil flow rate were doubled to 20,000 to 40,000 barrels a day.
- BP made grants totaling $75 million to Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. The company has paid more than $55.5 million to Americans who have suffered a financial loss from the spill. The claims process is being expedited to put money in the hands of affected Americans more rapidly.
Finally, BP reports the two relief wells drilling their way to the leaking Macondo well are making progress. The first well, which was spudded May 2, has reached a depth of 13,978 feet. When the new wells reach the Macondo wellbore, engineers should be able to pump heavy drilling fluids and cement to permanently stop the leak.
Image Source: BP
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