The U.S. continues to place pressure on BP as frustrations grow over the company's handling of the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will meet today to discuss whether to increase liability limits for companies involved in offshore drilling. The amount is currently capped now at $75 million; some proposals would like to see the cap raised to $10 billion, and to make the increase retroactive to cover the BP spill.
Disaster costs continue to rise
BP says it will continue to ignore liability caps and cover all legitimate claims, and the oil giant's disaster tab continues to grow. BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles says the company has paid approximately $30 million in claims and has over 400 agents in the Gulf's four-state region. "The majority of those claims have from Louisiana, and most of those claims are for lost income," he said.
Thad Allen of the U.S. Coast Guard, who is leading the disaster response, said yesterday it was crucial for BP to remain in charge of the efforts to control the situation. The U.S. government, he said, isn't equipped to handle the leak any better than the oil company.
Oil is trading below $68 a barrel, a 22 percent drop from $87.15 a barrel earlier this month. The falling value of the euro is one culprit.
Official fishery disaster in Gulf region
The U.S. government has officially declared a fishery disaster in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, allowing local fisherman impacted by the spill to claim federal funds. The local industry has suffered great damages and workers have lost jobs, homes, boats and an entire way of life, reports Marketplace's Janet Babin. Hear Janet Babin's report
Some still support offshore drilling
Though the recent BP oil disaster has made a detrimental impact to his argument, former Shell Oil president John Hofmeister remains pro-offshore drilling. According to Hofmeister, the U.S. will still rely heavily on domestically-produced oil within the next 30 years, a reduction of offshore drilling will transfer billions of dollars to foreign contries and hurt the development of new jobs. He encourages the U.S. explore shallow-water or on-shore drilling as options for more oil to avoid deep-water situations where the current oil disaster began.