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BP says it will pay for Gulf spill's cleanup - 'We are responsible'

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05/03/2010 02:35 PM
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BP says it will pay for Gulf spill's cleanup - 'We are responsible'
I am glad they've stepped up to take ownership of this mess...

[link to news.yahoo.com]

VENICE, La. – BP PLC gave some assurance Monday to shrimpers, oil workers and scores of others that they will be paid for damage and injuries from the explosion of a drilling rig and the resulting massive oil spill in the Gulf.

A fact sheet on the company website says BP takes responsibility for cleaning up the spill and will pay compensation for "legitimate and objectively verifiable" claims for property damage, personal injury and commercial losses. President Barack Obama and several attorneys general have asked the company to explain what exactly that means.

People like Dana Powell, manager of the Paradise Inn in Pensacola Beach, Fla., have feared what will happen to the Gulf Coast's staple industries such as tourism and commercial fishing.

"Now when there's a hurricane, we know it's going to level things, devastate things, be a huge mess and it's going to take several years to clean up," she said. "But this? It's going to kill the wildlife, it's going to kill lifestyles — the shrimpers, the fishermen, tourism. Who's going to come to an oil-covered beach?"

BP CEO Tony Hayward said Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America" that BP was not responsible for the accident. He said the equipment that failed and led to the spill belonged to owner Transocean Ltd., not BP, which operated the Deepwater Horizon rig.

Guy Cantwell, a Transocean spokesman, responded by reading a statement without elaborating.

"We will await all the facts before drawing conclusions and we will not speculate," he said.

A board investigating the explosion and oil leak plans to hold its first public hearing in roughly two weeks. The cause of the April 20 explosion, which killed 11 workers, has not been determined.

Coast Guard Capt. David Fish, chief of the Washington-based Office of Investigations and Analysis, said the six-member board — three from the Coast Guard and three from the U.S. Minerals and Management Service — will likely meet in the New Orleans area and take testimony from experts and workers who survived the disaster.

"We want to get it public because that's just what our rules are and while everything is fresh in everyone's mind, particularly with the witnesses," he said.

Meanwhile, Hayward said chemical dispersants seem to be having a significant impact keeping oil from flowing to the surface, though he did not elaborate.

The update on the dispersants came as BP was preparing a system never tried to siphon away the spill of crude from a blown-out well a mile underwater. However, it will take at least another six to eight days before crews can lower 74-ton concrete-and-metal boxes being built to capture the oil and siphon it to a barge waiting at the surface.