BP to Set Up a Massive Victims’ Compensation Fund

Just today, President Obama starts this fourth tour of the Gulf Coast, which he says will help him “get tough with the oil company’s leaders.” This comes on the heels of White House statements indicating that BP (British Petroleum – NOT Beyond Petroleum) appears willing to set up a massive victims’ compensation fund. According to spokesman Bill Burton, the fund will likely run into the “billions of dollars;” although, he would not provide a specific amount. Apparently, the particulars of the fund are still being discussed.

According to the Obama administration, the President is prepared to force BP, if necessary, to set up the fund and Obama aides are “confident we have the legal authority” to do that. We know that President Obama is planning to address the nation tomorrow night after his return from the Gulf, and we know that President Obama is slated to meet with BP executives for the first time on Wednesday. Later this week, BP’s executives will have to face Congress in hearings on the spill.

We have all probably seen the commercial where BP CEO, Tony Hayward, states that “BP is taking complete responsibility for the clean up.” How very big and responsible of you BP (note the sarcasm). Why isn’t BP spending money running ads stating that “BP is taking complete responsibility for the blowout, the loss of life, the massive damage to the Gulf Coast ecosystem, the loss of the ability of millions to earn a living, etc.?” Or, why doesn’t BP take the money that it costs to run those ads and use it to fix the massive leak that is still spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico? What is clear is that BP is not taking responsibility or accountability for all the effects of their negligence and gross negligence; rather, they chose to accept responsibility for just the cleanup? Hopefully, this will be the first step in forcing BP to accept responsibility and accountability for its reckless actions and the devastation that BP has caused. While BP will have to answer to Congress this week, it will have to answer to multiple juries in the very near future. If President Obama and Congress cannot force BP to accept responsibility and accountability for all of its actions, I bet that the trial lawyers can…and will.