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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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Publication:Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
Date:Jun 16, 2010
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