It's this diary and it's about what the White House administration is planning to do to BP. The White House is correct in their approach to BP in this instance. Here's an excerpt below:
The White House announced earlier morning that President Obama will address the nation from the Oval Office on Tuesday night about Oilmageddon--and lay down the law to BP. Apparently Obama wants BP to set aside significant funds to compensate victims of the spill.
President Obama for the first time will address the nation about the ongoing oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday night and outline his plans to legally force BP executives to create an escrow account reserving billions of dollars to compensate businesses and individuals if the company does not do so on its own, a senior administration official said on Sunday.
"The president will use his legal authority to compel them," said Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman.
And we finally have a good comment from an anonymous White House aide on this matter:
The White House official: "The President will make clear that he expects, and that if necessary will exercise his full legal authority to ensure, that BP sets aside the funds required to pay individuals and businesses damaged by this massive spill. And that those funds will be paid out under fair, efficient, and transparent procedures administered by an independent third-party panel established just for this purpose."
This falls in line somewhat with one of the proposals floated by Center for American Progress, and it's good news.
Claims for damages and lost revenues should be put under the authority of the U.S. Coast Guard National Pollution Funds Center. The scope of this disaster far exceeds the NPFC’s traditional resources, and other federal, state, and local claims processing resources must therefore be brought to bear, particularly from the Coast Guard’s sister agency FEMA.
And what is this basis for this legal authority for the President to be able to compel BP to set aside funds for victims of the oil spill? This is already granted in the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 right here as pointed out by David Pettit. At the Natural Resources Defense Council Switchboard blog, a staff attorney, David Pettit, has posted language in the Clean Water Act, which was amended through the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, that appears clearly to vest the president with both the authority and the obligation to take the reins in a major oil spill where private actions have failed:
(A) If a discharge, or a substantial threat of a discharge, of oil or a hazardous substance from a vessel, offshore facility, or onshore facility is of such a size or character as to be a substantial threat to the public health or welfare of the United States (including but not limited to fish, shellfish, wildlife, other natural resources, and the public and private beaches and shorelines of the United States), the President shall direct all Federal, State, and private actions to remove the discharge or to mitigate or prevent the threat of the discharge. (the rest of the Switchboard post)
The Republicans may cry socialism, but that's what they do anyway, no matter what the President does, so it's time to stop being scared of what they say. And this is a good move by the White House, and one that is very welcome. It's a big, bold proactive step.
I'd like to know more details about the third-party administrator to make sure it's not like the company BP hired to reduce payouts in claims.
We need to support the President fully in this move because it's a good one.