Today’s Q’s for O’s WH

By Alex Pepper

Aug 4, 2010 3:53pm

Yunji de Nies:  Robert, back in May, Tony Hayward said, quote, "The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean.  The amount of volume of oil and dispersal we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume."  After he said that, the president said that he would have fired Mr. Hayward if he said those comments.

Now it now appears that Mr. Hayward may, in fact, have been right.  Does the administration owe him an apology?

GIBBS:  No.

(UNKNOWN):  He wasn't right.

GIBBS:  I don't think he was right.  I mean, let's understand that a third of — a third of what is captured was — was based on — directly on a containment strategy that had to be constructed and — I'll say this — a containment strategy that — that we pushed BP forward on, that we pushed BP to accelerate in order to capture the oil that was leaking.

Nobody owes Tony Hayward an apology.  BP has responsibilities and obligations as the responsible polluting party in this instance.  Our government will ensure that the obligations and responsibilities that BP has continued to be met to our satisfaction.

The apology that is owed by — any apology that is owed is to the disruption to the lives of families, fishermen, hotel owners, people that grew up in and — and — and understand the beauty that is the Gulf of Mexico.  That's the apology.

Yunji:  How much of this success of today that you're laying out for us is attributable to BP and how much to the federal government?  Do you think that you had to push BP to get here?  I see you're nodding your head.

GIBBS:  Well, again — again, I think if you go back and look at the directives signed by Admiral Allen to various people in the corporate structure at BP, we asked for and demanded that particularly their containment strategy be accelerated.  We asked for and demanded that not one relief well be drilled, but two, in order to ensure an amount of redundancy in the system that would allow for a mistake or an error.

I think that the response as it is would have been different had Admiral Allen and others — Carol, Jane, the scientific team, Secretary Chu — not pushed at every step of the way for BP to do — to do things more comprehensively and faster.

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