BP Chief Hayward 'Not Involved' in Gulf Well Decision

"I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday," Barton said, referring to the meeting between President Obama and Hayward on Tuesday that led up to the $20 billion announcement. "I do not want to live in a country where anytime a citizen or a corporation that does something that is legitimately wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure which ... amounts to a shakedown."

The White House immediately issued a statement slamming Barton's comments.

"What is shameful is that Joe Barton seems to have more concern for big corporations that caused this disaster than the fishermen, small business owners and communities whose lives have been devastated by the destruction," according to the statement.

Hayward, 53, has become the face of the oil spill and the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which killed 11 men and devastated Gulf shores. In a letter to Hayward earlier this week, from Waxman and Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., Hayward was warned that he should come prepared to address BP's "questionable decisions."

Just a few words into his opening statement, Hayward was interrupted by a protestor who was eventually subdued by Capitol police.

Later identified as Diane Wilson, the co-founder of the activist group Code Pink , she shouted "I think you need to be charged with a crime, you need to go to jail."

Hayward, who restarted his statement after Wilson was carted away by police, apologized to those hurt by the spill but added that it was "simply too early to say what caused the incident."

"There is still extensive work to do. A full answer must await the outcome of multiple investigations" by both BP and the government, he said.

Hayward said that, in the meantime, BP is concentrating on cleanup efforts and on stopping the flow of oil by drilling two relief wells. The company, he said, also has deployed equipment that has allowed BP to collect 20,000 barrels of oil per day. BP expects to increase its collection to between 60,000 to 80,000 barrels a day by mid-July, he said.

Hayward said the company has paid out more than $95 million in damage claims and noted that Obama administration pay czar Ken Feinberg will now oversee the claims process, which he said will ensure payments will be as "fair, transparent and rapid" as possible.

The CEO acknowledged, however, that there's little he can say to quell public anger about the spill.

"I understand the seriousness of the situation and the concerns, frustrations and fears that have been and continue to be voiced. I know that only actions and results, not mere words, ultimately can give you the confidence you seek," he said. "I give my pledge as the leader of BP that we will not rest until we make this right."

Hayward has been excoriated in recent weeks not only for his role as head of the company blamed for the spill, but also for his public statements, including the now-infamous, "I'd like my life back," -- a comment Hayward made while explaining his desire to quickly resolve the disaster, which killed 11 men and devastated Gulf shores.

Hayward's life before the Deepwater Horizon explosion was an enviable one. Last year, the British native's compensation totaled $14.3 million, according to the research firm Equilar, some of which he's spent on vacations sailing through the tropics and skiing in Vail, Colorado, with his wife, a former BP geophysicist, and their two children. He's also an avid sports fan and enjoys watching games of rugby, soccer and cricket.

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