Abbott calls on BP to sign pledge for oil spill cleanup costs


by KVUE News & The Associated Press

Posted on May 3, 2010 at 12:17 PM

Updated Monday, May 3 at 3:16 PM

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is asking oil giant BP to sign a promise to pay for the clean-up in the Gulf of Mexico as a massive oil spill continues to spew crude and threaten wildlife and industry.

Abbott, who spoke out Monday morning, is working in conjunction with the attorney generals of several other Gulf Coast states to make sure the money to clean up the devastating oil spill comes directly from those responsible.

“The oil spill threatens precious environmental, ecological and wildlife resources across the Gulf Coast,” Abbott said. “Our top focus is ensuring that BP makes good on its promise to fully compensate individuals, coastal businesses and taxpayers for any expenses incurred during the clean-up effort. We will work with state and local officials to ensure that BP reimburses any expenditure of taxpayer resources and will focus on ensuring that BP’s compensation process is not overly burdensome or bureaucratic for coastal residents and small businesses.”

BP has said it will pay for the clean-up, but Abbott and the attorneys general of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana want the details of the clean up.

They are asking BP to sign an agreement that specifies exactly what expenses BP and other agencies deemed responsible for the oil spill will assume.

The president of BP said his company's response has been quote "aggressive."

Abbot and the other attorneys general questioned whether funds would be made available to local governments and businesses that have been harmed.  BP has agreed to cover a number of costs, including costs associated with the assessment, mitigation and cleanup of spilled oil, real and property damage caused by the oil, personal injury caused by the spill, commercial losses including loss of earnings or profit and other losses as contemplated by applicable laws and regulations.

The attorneys general  are also asking President Obama to take legal steps necessary to lay blame for the massive Gulf oil leak.

Chris Bence, a spokesman for Alabama Attorney General Troy King, said a letter was prepared Monday asking the president to clear the way for possible court action by the AGs from Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Alabama.

Obama said Sunday during a visit to the Louisiana coast that he expects the owners of the leaking well, BP PLC, to pay for the cleanup. Bence said a formal declaration of responsibility is needed before the attorneys general can take action against BP or others.

The well is leaking about 5,000 of barrels of oil into the Gulf daily. It's now started to reach the Louisiana wetlands.

No oil has reached the Texas coast.  Predictions show Texas will see no effect from the oil for the next two days, but the Attorney General’s Office says tidal and wave patterns could change that.