As Oil Spill Spreads in Gulf of Mexico, Blame Game Begins

With the White House putting pressure on BP today, company executives promised to clean up the oil spill polluting the Gulf of Mexico but tried to shift responsibility for the accident to another company.

The Obama administration has "our boot on the throat of BP to ensure that they're doing all that is necessary while we do all that is humanly possible to deal with this incident," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said today.

Gibbs was echoing statements made by President Obama yesterday on a visit to the Gulf region.

"Let me be clear, BP is responsible for this leak. BP will be paying for the bill," Obama said.

VIDEO: The National Guard is called in to save the island from the Gulf oil Spill.
The Fight to Saving Dauphine Island

Watch "World News" for the latest on the oil spill, tonight on ABC.

Today, Gibbs was clear about the president's expectations.

"I think the president will be pleased when there's no more oil leaking on the floor of the ocean," he said.

Earlier in the day, BP CEO Tony Hayward reiterated his company's dedication to clean up the spill, but he said that the explosion on April 20 that caused the spill and led to 11 deaths was not the fault of BP but the fault of the owners of the deep sea rig itself.

VIDEO: Jeffrey Koffman takes a look at animal habitats vulnerable to the oil slick.
null

"The drilling rig was Transocean's drilling rig, it was their equipment that failed, it's their systems, their processors that were running it," Hayward said.

"We are responsible not for the accident, but we are responsible for the oil and for dealing with it and cleaning the situation up," Hayward said on "Good Morning America" today.

For its part, Transocean declined to take or assign blame for the accident at its Deepwater Horizon rig.

"We will await all the facts before drawing conclusions and we will not speculate," Transocean spokesman Guy Cantwell said in a statement read to The Associated Press.

BP was criticized today for asking fishermen it hired to help with the cleanup to sign waivers that would limit the company's liability.

VIDEO: Massive oil slick threatens four Gulf States and miles of sensitive coast.
Gulf Oil Spill Spreads

"I'm looking into that right now," Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told "Good Morning America." "I was just alerted to that and if that in fact is the case, that is a practice we want stopped immediately."

Shortly after, Hayward said the company has already put a stop to the practice.

"That was an early misstep," Hayward said. "We were using a standard contract. We've eliminated that."

Oil Spill Now the Size of Puerto Rico

The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico, which is estimated to be the size of Puerto Rico, has shown no sign of stopping as the country braces for what could be the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

Lighter winds did give response crews some reason for hope, though. The strong winds that whipped up seas over the weekend dissipated today, meaning that oil containment tools like booms could be more effective. The lighter wind could keep the bulk of the oil slick from hitting shore for another couple of days.

Multiple Strategies for Oil Cleanup

BP is working on three possible solutions to stop the oil that is flowing from the bottom of the sea.

First, the company is trying to repair the valve that was supposed to prevent the well from leaking. Hayward compared that operation to "conducting open heart surgery about 5,000 feet beneath the seabed."

The company is also trying to drill a relief well parallel to the leaking one, but that could take three months.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...