BP cannot be let off the hook like Exxon was. No matter what anyone does, most of the gushing oil cannot be recovered; this is why BP must be responsible for regional restoration and cleanup—as well as plugging the hole.
BP needs to be held accountable for stopping the oil gusher and for shouldering the safety, health, restoration, and clean-up costs for years to come. President Obama created an independent commission to investigate causes and clean-up options for the disaster, and Congress is attempting to raise oil spill liability caps. But more steps need to be taken to hold BP fully accountable for the aftermath of the disaster.
BP made $163 billion in profits from 2001-09 and $5.6 billion in the first quarter of 2010. Therefore, BP should be required to place its first quarter profit of $5.6 billion in an escrow account to provide compensation to the fishermen, those in the tourist industry, and others whose livelihoods are threatened. These funds should also be used for cleaning up the soon-to-be-blighted shores.
The Center for American Progress called for BP to make this commitment back in April, and the idea is now gaining traction on Capitol Hill. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) yesterday called on BP to put its profits "into a Gulf Coast Recovery Fund that will be jointly managed with public as well as private sector management," and that this "will be a start to nailing down the commitment that I believe is necessary to respond to the growing costs of this disaster." Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) has made similar statements.
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