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Posts Tagged ‘obama’

While President Obama’s call to hold BP accountable for the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was tough talk, the devil is in the details and in this case,  the details seem to be set up to limit BP’s liability in civil cases, while allowing the company plenty of wiggle room to avoid harsh penalties for its criminal behavior. Public Citizen President Robert Weissman and Tyson Slocum, director of our energy program, have an op-ed in Politico that urges President Obama to step up and fix the slew of  problems with BP’s $20 billion fund to compensate victims of the tragedy.

Weissman and Slocum write:

BP has sought to maintain control over the crisis response at every stage. Though it seems to have spared no expense congratulating itself with TV advertisements about its good efforts and deep concern for the Gulf ecosystem and the people who rely on it, BP has bungled just about everything it has touched here.

Things improved only when the government insisted that it supervise what’s going on.

Now BP aims to control the terms of payout and penalty. Like everything that came before, this is a public problem. It demands engagement by the administration.

There’s no easy way to clean up the Gulf. But it’s easy enough to clean up the trust agreement mess.

It’s time for the administration to act.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0810/41411_Page2.html#ixzz0xYEbqyzY

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On Wednesday, we delivered our petition to the White House urging President Barack Obama to nominate Elizabeth Warren to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Thank you to everyone who signed our Elizabeth Warren petition!

If anyone understands the urgency of appointing Elizabeth Warren to lead the new consumer bureau, it’s Craig Mehall – a Public Citizen lobbyist who fought on the front lines of Wall Street reform, going toe-to-toe with big bank lobbyists.

All of us at Public Citizen are grateful for and inspired by our activists.

Now we wait for President Obama’s response.

While millions of families are still struggling in this Great Recession, big banks are busy inventing new, deceptive ways to lift money from consumers’ wallets. It’s critical that the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau get to work as soon as possible, with Elizabeth Warren in charge.

We’ll let you know what happens, and how to continue working for a fair, sustainable economy.

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The federal government and BP would have us believe that most of the oil that spewed into the Gulf of Mexico has dissipated. The Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center (a collaboration between BP and the Obama administration) issued a recent report that says only 25 percent of the oil that poured into the Gulf remains. The other 75 percent?  Poof! Vanished.  As Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch, points out in truthout, this is a pretty ridiculous assertion.

Researchers with Georgia Sea Grant and the University of Georgia released a report Wednesday that estimates that 80 percent of the oil is still in the Gulf. Hauter writes:

This independent analysis of the regulators’ claims raises some important questions about the Joint Information Center’s report. Is BP’s influence at play in presenting the findings in a more positive light? Was the report an attempt at crisis communications that simply backfired?

It’s  just another example of what happens when the government treats BP like a partner, rather than (more…)

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In what amounts to a confounding conflict of interest, the U.S. government is considering a plan that would allow BP to use profits from its Gulf of Mexico drilling operations to ensure the solvency of the $20 billion escrow fund set up to compensate victims of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Why is this a bad idea? Because, as Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program points out, it gives the Obama  administration less incentive to prosecute BP for the recklessness and negligence that lead to the disaster and could make regulators less likely to deny BP additional drilling permits. Slocum says:

“The proposed arrangement is wildly inappropriate, as it will make the government and BP virtual partners in Gulf oil production . . . It will give the government a financial incentive to become an even bigger booster of offshore oil drilling in the Gulf – which was the fatal flaw of the Minerals Management Service at the time of the BP disaster.”

Slocum sent a letter to the administration today saying it should change the way the disaster fund is structured to ensure the government can remain unbiased and prioritize the public’s interest – not BP’s interests.

According to Monica Langley in The Wall Street Journal, the government would in essence hold BP’s Gulf oil production as collateral. But Langley says this setup could run into resistance in Congress:

Such a deal could provoke a backlash on Capitol Hill, where some lawmakers are moving to bar BP from operating in the Gulf.

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Public Citizen President Robert Weissman marks the three-month anniversary of the BP oil disaster at a rally in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Join the fight at www.BeyondBP.org.

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A federal judge’s decision today to block a six-month moratorium on new deep-water drilling projects is extremely shortsighted. If anything, the temporary ban that President Barack Obama declared in May should be made permanent.

At the very least, we need a moratorium to allow regulators time to study what went wrong in the Gulf of Mexico so that we know best how to prevent it from ever happening again.

Now, Congress needs to step in and act immediately to ensure that the health and safety of oil rig workers and Gulf residents is not compromised by future deepwater drilling. Until a technology is perfected that can stop oil flowing a mile beneath the surface of the ocean, we cannot move forward on deepwater drilling.

Tyson Slocum is the director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program.

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BP CEO Tony Hayward today faces what is sure to be a tough inquisition before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee.

Here are five questions Hayward should be forced to answer under oath: (more…)

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