Obama condemns “finger of blame“ over oil spill
The major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has led US President, Barack Obama, to say the “cosy relationship” between oil companies and US regulators will end.
He condemned “the ridiculous spectacle” of them “falling over each other to point the finger of blame”.
Mr Obama was speaking after meeting his cabinet and other administration officials in the White House.
“For too long, for a decade or more, there has been a cosy relationship between the oil companies and the federal agency [the Minerals Management Service, MMS] that permits them to drill,” he said.
“It seems as if permits were too often issued based on little more than assurances of safety from the oil companies. That cannot and will not happen anymore. To borrow an old phrase, we will trust but we will verify.”
Referring to Congressional hearings on the disaster this week, he said: “I did not appreciate what I considered to be a ridiculous spectacle… executives of BP and Transocean and Halliburton [the firm responsible for cementing the well] falling over each other to point the finger of blame at somebody else.
“The American people cannot have been impressed with that display and I certainly wasn’t.”
Last week, Mr Obama was said to be “deeply frustrated” that the leak had not been stopped.
The disaster started after an explosion on a BP oil rig on 20 April, which left 11 workers dead.
Two days later, oil began to leak into the Gulf of Mexico from the damaged well and oil major BP has been battling to contain the leak, which has cost the company in the region of $450 million (£305 million) to date.
However, today the oil giant said a new attempt could be successful, a source close to the operation told Reuters.
The spill is set to become the worst environmental disaster in US history.
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