"President Obama convincing BP to establish an escrow fund for damages is a silver lining behind the very dark clouds of the BP oil disaster. The "Claims and Escrow" fund should ensure that people harmed by this calamity receive prompt, fair compensation for their losses. It prevents BP from hiding behind liability caps and long, drawn-out court battles.
"This $20 billion damages fund is quite reasonable. BP will only contribute $5 billion per year over four years. BP earned more than $5 billion in the first quarter of 2010. The $20 billion total is still less than the profits BP earned over the past 15 months.
"There will be a need for long-term monitoring of the health effects of crude oil and dispersants in exposed populations. Some of these effects may have a long latency period (20 years or more), and may then require assessment, treatment and care. Under such circumstances, $500 million should be considered a down payment on the needed monitoring systems and capabilities and health care services.
"President Obama and his administration deserve hearty thanks for designing a system that should help those harmed by the BP oil disaster and most in need of assistance."
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