Liveblog… President Obama is speaking after his meeting with BP and their lawyers: (I missed the very beginning)
BP will set aside $20 billion dollars to assure that claims will be honored. IT IS NOT A CAP. BP will meet obligations. This sets up a financial/legal framework.
[BP will still be responsible for environmental clean-up.]
This fund will not be controlled by BP or government: Impartial independent third party. So, if you or your business suffered loss, you can file a claim from this $20 billion. You can still pursue claims in court.
BP voluntarily agreed to establish $100 million fund to compensate unemployed oil rig workers.
BP’s liabilities are significant. They acknowledge that fact. I’m confident they’ll be able to meet their obligations to Gulf coast and American people.
It’s in all of our interests that they remain viable. It’s about accountability.
This will not make Gulf whole over night.
During private convo with Chairman Feinberg, I emphasized for families and business owners, this is not just a matter of dollars and cents. A lot of these folks have no cushion, coming off Rita/Katrina/economy. This season was going to be where they bounced back. Worst possible time, because their entire income for year is during 3-4 months, tourism, etc. So I emphasized that he should keep in mind those individuals. They are desperate. If they don’t get relief quickly, they’ll lose businesses… he said he would keep them in mind. That’s the standard by which I judge BP…
I got assurances that BP would meet its responsibilities. [Laffy Note: Ha.]
We’ll make the Gulf families whole again. That’s who we’re doing this work for.
MSNBC commentary: This is corner turning… step in the right direction.
Mayor Ron Davis, Alabama is on now, very appreciative of Prez O.
MORE… BP executive Svanberg speaking:
We appreciate president’s deep concern. His frustration.. sadness, sorrow. We have always met our obligations and responsibilities. We made clear from first moment that we’d live up to them. We’ve agreed w/ President today on framework, we mean what we say. We will look after the people affected, repair the damage to this region, to the economy. We announce today a $20 billion commitment to make sure all proper claims handled quickly, fairly.
We will not pay any further dividends this year. Words are not enough. We understand we will, should be judged by our actions.
We are fully aligned in interest to close well, clean beaches…
Finally, I apologize to American people on behalf of all employees of BP, many who live on Gulf Coast. I thank you for the patience that you have in this difficult time. Through our actions, commitment, we hope over longterm that we will regain the trust that you have in us.
We are going thru a series of investigations. We will do our own independent one… scrutinize everything we do.
Constructive meeting, including many parts… important to get language right… ambition was clear from beginning.
I spent a fair amount of time with president. He’s frustrated. He, and we, care about the small people We do care about the small people.