An apology to BP

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, is the face of the BP oil spill today. He apologized to BP executives testifying at a House hearing for the U.S. compelling BP to pay into a compensation fund for the victims of the spill:

Meanwhile, a new poll shows 74% of those surveyed disapprove of the way the federal government has handled the disaster. Only 5 percent said President Obama has been “too tough” on BP. And 82% approved of a BP-paid compensation fund.

  • Shane

    Wow. I cannot believe what Barton was saying. Ashamed that the government is taking action to ensure that the people affected by the oil spill will be compensated for their lost income?! Would he be saying that if the oil was on Texas shores? I doubt it.

    It’s just sad to see that politicians (on both sides) have lost any sense of a moral compass. Politics has turned into reality tv.

  • David

    Barton’s top contributor, as reported by, was a partner with BP in Deepwater Horizon. There should be no shock that he has to at least feign outrage at the corporations being held liable for the disaster.

  • ryanspublicfeed

    Wow… they ADMITTED fault and he’s “ashamed” they are being forced into a slush fund? Due process doesn’t apply when you admitted your wrongdoing…

  • ryanspublicfeed

    My apologies, compensation fund, not a slush fund like I said before.

    But before you beat me up over it, there’s still due process.

  • Patrick from Anoka

    Obama HAS been too tough on BP. Strong-arm tactics are the Chicago Way.

    I’m surprised Obama kept it only at 20B instead of just bankrupting the company.

  • bsimon

    patrick from anoka writes

    “I’m surprised Obama kept it only at 20B instead of just bankrupting the company.”

    The $20B is not a cap. If damages are found to exceed that amount, BP will be liable for paying those claims. Likewise, if damages do not reach $20B, BP will retain the difference. Lastly, bankrupting BP would mean that the people being impacted by the spill – i.e. fisherman, hotel operators, etc would not get paid, so bankrupting BP is a bad alternative.

    post script: $20B is just a hair more than BP made in profit last year ($6.36 EPS * 3.13B shares). If that is the extent of what it costs them, it’s a very bearable price – not even close to wiping them out.

  • Bob Collins

    I presume that anyone taking compensation fund money waives their right to sue. It is quite possible that whatever amount BP pays into the fund is going to be less than the amount a sympathetic jury might award, and less than the cost of defending court cases.

  • tired

    from the NY Times:

    Mr. Obama said Wednesday that the fund does “does not supersede” the rights of individuals and states to sue. Experts say Mr. Feinberg’s biggest challenge will be to persuade the countless claimants — from shrimp processors to fishermen, hotel owners to restaurateurs — to settle claims through the escrow fund rather than sue.

  • tired

    Sorry for the dual posts.

    The key phrase to me is “does not supersede”. Bob, I read this to say they can take a claim AND sue? But I’m looking to your communications expertise for an accurate interpretation.

  • Bob Collins

    I guess you’re right. I took my cue from Talk of the Nation, which today compared it to the 9/11 victims compensation fund and said its real value was to keep the courts from getting all clogged up.

  • Momkat

    Barton has now offered the non-apology apology: sorry if anyone misconstrued my remarks. Sheesh!