People? We Have to Deal with People?
A preliminary grade for BP from the not-so-retired Admiral Thad Allen, the administration’s point man for the gulf oil spill. Allen said he isn’t sure any company could have done better than BP in capping the spill (Presumably this includes the whole golf ball, tire parts episode)
But, a big ole Fail on another front. As Allen explains it, BP is a “large global oil production company. They don’t do retail sales, or deal with individuals on a transactional basis…It’s something they don’t naturally have as a capacity or a competency…” We believe this is Coast Guard speak for BP has no people skills.
The president's top environmental and energy adviser Carol Browner pronounced the government run environmental cleanup in the gulf “very successful” but added “there’s still a lot of work to do.” This will come as a relief in the Gulf where residents fear with the leak plugged, they are already in the country’s rear view mirror.
Amen from Allen: “If you’re sitting in Barataria Bay (Louisiana) it’s still a disaster. If the folks have not come back to the panhandle of Florida, it’s still a disaster. “
Putting Your Mouth Where Your Money Is
Browner also revealed that at the president’s (belated) birthday party Sunday, “he’s going to be serving his guests seafood from the Gulf of Mexico.”
By Fall, They’re Going to Need An Answer
Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) went after the Obama administration for wanting to let the Bush tax cuts expire in January for the wealthy ($250,000 and up households). He argued GOP economics 101: Don’t raise taxes in a struggling economy. Asked repeatedly, Boehner would not say whether keeping those tax cuts in place simply adds to the deficit republicans are so eager to reduce. It may be time to posit the question: In arguing for keeping tax cuts for the wealthy, has the GOP found a potent election year issue or are they boxing themselves in?
Washington (CNN) – As he reflects on lessons learned from dealing with the Gulf oil spill, the man charged with leading the federal response gave embattled energy giant BP a mixed grade Sunday.
Asked on CNN’s State of the Union to give BP a grade from “A” to “F,” retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen separately assessed different aspects of the company’s response to the blown out well.
“At the well head, I’m not sure there’s any oil company that could have done anything more than they did,” Allen told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. “The technology that was needed to be brought in for other parts of the world, was [brought in]. It took a long time to engineer it. It took a long time to install it. But, ultimately, it helped us put the cap on and control the well. So I give them fairly good marks there.”
But Allen quickly added that where the energy giant’s performance has been lacking is in having a human touch.
(CNN) - Rep. Joe Barton will not make the same mistake twice.
Last month, the Texas Republican came under intense criticism from members of his own party and was forced to issue an apology after calling BP's agreement to set up a $20 billion fund for victims of the Gulf oil spill "a shakedown" by the Obama administration. Despite the apology, Democrats used the comments to spark fundraising and gain political ground.
Barton, who also called the $20 billion a "slush fund," came face-to-face Tuesday with Kenneth Feinberg, the independent special master of the fund, and prefaced his first question with an emphatic message.
"I do support that there be a compensation fund," Barton said. "I do support that BP pays most if not all of the money that goes into that fund. And I do support that it be, as I said, fairly quickly and transparently paid out to the people that have the claims."
According to a new CNN poll, 33 percent of the public says the situation in the Gulf region is under control. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - On day 95 of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a new poll indicates that two-thirds of Americans think the situation is still out of control, but the number who say that things are getting worse in the Gulf Coast region has dropped 30 points since June.
According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey, 33 percent of the public says the situation is under control, up from just seven percent in June. Sixty-five percent of those questioned say things are out of control, down from 92 percent in June.
"Optimism about the situation in the Gulf has grown most among women," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Last month, only 35 percent of women thought the situation there had stabliized; now that is up to 60 percent. The number of men who think things have stabilized also grew since June, but only by 12 points, to 55 percent."
New York (CNNMoney.com) - BP is still among the biggest suppliers of fuel to the U.S. military, and the Defense Department has no plans to stop awarding the company lucrative contracts.
As of last week, BP has been awarded 17 contracts valued at just under $1 billion, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) said. That makes BP the third-largest supplier of fuel to the armed services so far this fiscal year.
In fiscal 2009, the DLA granted BP a total of 26 contracts valued at $2.2 billion, or nearly 12% of overall fuel purchases, making it the military's largest fuel supplier that year.
(CNN) – The Obama administration has sent a fourth bill for $99.7 million to BP and other responsible parties relating to the energy company's oil spill, according to a statement from the Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center.
The government said BP is financially responsible for all costs associated with the response to the spill, including efforts to stop the leak at its source, reduce the spread of oil, protect the shoreline and mitigate damages, as well as long-term recovery efforts for individuals and communities.
The government bills BP and other parties regularly for costs incurred by the federal on-scene coordinator to support federal, state and local response efforts and ensure the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund is reimbursed on an ongoing basis.
(CNN) – A group of U.S. lawmakers have called for an investigation into whether BP may have played a role in lobbying for the release of Abdelbaset al Megrahi to secure an oil contract with the Libyan government.
Megrahi, now 58, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 which killed 270 people, including 189 Americans.
He was released from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds in August after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
"Reports have surfaced indicating that a 2007 oil agreement may have influenced the U.K. and Scottish governments' positions concerning Mr. Megrahi's release in 2009," wrote Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey in a letter to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Monday.
(CNN) - The presidential commission tasked with investigating the Gulf oil gusher and making recommendations about the future of offshore drilling will hold its first public meeting Monday.
The National Oil Spill Commission has six months to determine what happened when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded April 20, leading to the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history - and how to prevent something similar from ever happening again.
Committee co-chairman, William K. Reilly, said it was hard to believe that more progress has not been made in responding to oil spills.
In an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, attorney Kenneth Feinberg said he expected to have his independent compensation program running by the first week of August. Feinberg told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that his operation will be superimposed on top of the claims process already put in place by BP, which has more than 1,000 people working out of 35 offices in the Gulf Coast region.
“We’ll keep the people who are good. We’ll add people. We’ll accelerate claims. We’ll process the claims as quickly as we can,” Feinberg said. “We’re already prepared to give eligible claimants not one month emergency payments but six months with no obligation, no release required. Just to try and help people in the Gulf.”
Feinberg described the six-month payouts as providing “some degree of additional financial certainty” for the many individuals and businesses facing the economic havoc caused by the disaster. But Feinberg added that claimants can ask for less than six months in compensation if they so choose.
The well-known attorney, who administered the multi-billion-dollar 9/11 victims’ compensation fund and who set salaries for the top executives at banks recently bailed out by the federal government, also provided an overview of how he sees the claims process.
Aspen, Colorado (CNN) – Attorney General Eric Holder suggested Thursday that the Justice Department might not only be focused on BP in its Gulf Coast oil spill investigation.
"We opened a criminal investigation but did not indicate what the subject of the investigation was," Holder told CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer at the Aspen Institute's 2010 Aspen Ideas Festival. "There are a variety of entities and a variety of people who are the subjects of that investigation."
"For people to conclude that BP is the focus of this investigation might not be correct," Holder added.