Day 59: The Latest on the Oil Spill
BP Makes a Change on Response Efforts
Tony Hayward, the public face of BP since oil began gushing into the Gulf of Mexico in April, is stepping away from his daily involvement in the company’s response efforts. Mr. Hayward, who will remain as BP’s chief executive, will hand off the duties of overseeing the daily spill operations to Robert Dudley, an American oil executive who has been a managing director of BP since 2009. The change came a day after Mr. Hayward went before a Congressional committee in Washington and received a drubbing from lawmakers who are angry about the slow pace of efforts to stop the oil leak, which has become one of the worst environmental disasters in American history.
More Oil Is Recovered
BP recovered 25,290 barrels of crude oil from the damaged well on Thursday, the most it has collected in a day. BP also said that workers drilling one of the relief wells, meant to help seal the leaking well, came within 200 feet of the damaged well on Friday. Relief wells, which provide access to the blown-out well beneath the seabed, provide the best hope to seal the damaged well. While drilling for the wells is ahead of schedule, BP officials remained cautious. “Things have gone well down to this stage, but that doesn’t always mean things will continue to go well,” said Kent Wells, a BP senior vice president.
A Lawsuit Is Filed Against BP
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit on Friday against BP, seeking monetary penalties for the oil spill under the Clean Water Act. The group, which sued in federal court in New Orleans, said that if the spill was found to be “the result of gross negligence or willful misconduct,” it should be assigned the maximum penalty set out by the federal act, which is a fine of $4,300 for every barrel of oil spilled. If the spill continues through August, the center calculated that BP’s liability will be about $19 billion, which would be paid into the United States Treasury. “The government has yet to take any criminal or civil actions against BP,” said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “We filed this suit to ensure BP is held accountable for every drop of oil and pollution it has released into the Gulf of Mexico.”
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