Obama to "insist" BP set aside billions of dollars to pay oil damages -- Axelrod.
During his White House meeting on Wednesday with BP executives,
President Barack Obama will "insist" that BP establish a
multibillion-dollar escrow account to ensure that U.S. residents and
business owners along the Gulf of Mexico who have been damaged by the
massive oil disaster can receive their claims in a timely fashion, said
David Axelrod, senior adviser to the President.The Obama administration
also plans to "push hard" for Congress to approve a new energy
policy "that frees us from these kinds of disasters, that creates
new economic security for this country, new energy independence,"
Axelrod said in a CBS "Early Show" interview on Wednesday.In a
second NBC "Today" interview, Axelrod said the escrow fund
will be administered by an independent administrator so that people with
legitimate claims do not get "slow walked." "We believe
we have the authority to compel that, but we also believe -- we have
been in discussions with BP -- they understand the pressures they are
under, and we expect them to make good on their obligations,"
Axelrod said.There will be no upward cap on the escrow fund, Axelrod
said. If BP owes more money, they will have to pay more, he
said."This is not a get-out-of-the-situation-free card," he
said of the establishment of the escrow fund. "They are going to
have to deal with whatever they owe, and they are going to pay every
dime they owe." The new commission established by Obama will in the
next six months study "this entire issue and decide how to move
forward in a way that is safe and how to move forward in a way that we
are secure that if something like this were ever to happen again, that
there is a means of responding and not allowing this kind of a disaster
to flourish," Axelrod said.
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