British Petroleum has failed repeatedly for more than a month to cap the gushing oil well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Interior Secretary and former Colorado Senator Ken Salazar has at long last apparently had enough. Speaking for the administration this weekend, he said BP has missed deadline after deadline in its attempts to stop the leak and that the administration is now preparing to “push out” BP and take over operations.
“If we find they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing, we’ll push them out of the way appropriately,” Salazar told AP. “This is an existential crisis for one of the world’s largest companies,” he said, referring to the billions in cleanup and damages the company already owes and that are increasing every hour, costs that Salazar suggested could threaten the future of the company.
“I am angry and I am frustrated that BP has been unable to stop this oil from leaking and to stop the pollution from spreading,” Salazar told reporters after visiting BP’s U.S. headquarters in Houston.
“We are 33 days into this effort and deadline after deadline has been missed,” Salazar added, referring to the failure of containment efforts attempted so far by London-based BP to control the gushing undersea well one mile down on the ocean floor.
President Barack Obama’s administration is facing growing public and political pressure to take full charge of the oil spill containment operation as criticism against BP grows.
The spill is threatening an ecological and economic disaster along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
“If we find they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing, we’ll push them out of the way appropriately,” Salazar said, but he did not specify at what point this would occur or what might be the trigger for it.
“This is an existential crisis for one of the world’s largest companies,” he said, in a reference to the billions of dollars of cleanup and damages costs that BP faces.
Salazar also said BP had agreed to pay cleanup costs beyond the $75 million liability limit set by current U.S. law.
Last week Sen. Bill Nelson’s website posted video of dispersants being sprayed into the leak: “This is new footage from April 30 labeled ‘dispersion opp’ shows an opaque liquid being mixed with oil gushing from one of three leaks.”
The Environmental Protection Agency demanded BP stop using the dispersant because of its extremely toxicity and the fact that it has never been tested for use at this volume.