British Petroleum must clarify its “true intentions” on paying for costs associated with a massive US oil spill, the US homeland security and interior secretaries said in a letter released Saturday.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Interior Security Ken Salazar noted in the letter to BP chief executive Tony Hayward that the firm has publicly pledged to assume all costs associated with the containment and clean-up of the Gulf of Mexico spill.
But they said the public has “a right to a clear understanding of BP’s commitment to redress all of the damage that has occurred or that will occur.”
“Therefore, in the event that our understanding is inaccurate, we request immediate public clarification of BP’s true intentions,” the pair wrote.
The letter came a day after President Barack Obama blasted oil companies for seeking to shift blame and responsibility for the oil spill leaking from a ruptured oil well pipe.
He accused executives from the firms of creating a “ridiculous spectacle” by pointing fingers at each other in testimony before US lawmakers.
Salazar and Napolitano said they simply wanted to clarify what responsibility BP intends to assume, in the wake of several public statements on the issue made by company officials in recent weeks.
“Based on these statements, we understand that BP will not in any way seek to rely on the potential 75 million statutory cap dollar to refuse to provide compensation to any individuals or others harmed by the oil spill, even if more than 75 million dollars is required… and BP will not seek reimbursement from the American taxpayers, the United States government, or the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund for any amount.”
Since the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon oil rig sank last month, rupturing a riser pipe that has been spewing thousands of gallons of crude into the sea, US government officials have made clear that taxpayers will not bear the costs of the cleanup.
BP has said it will pay “necessary” cleanup costs and will award damages where “legitimate” claims for compensation are submitted.