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Gulf oil spill: Call to replace BP not an option

May 24, 2010 |  1:20 pm

Replacing  BP as the leader in the cleanup of the Gulf of Mexico oil leak is not an option and such calls are just a metaphor,  Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said on Monday.

As complaints about the federal government’s response to the massive oil leak continued to grow,  Allen, the national incident commander, briefed White House reporters on the Obama administration’s efforts to deal with the spill, which began with the explosion and sinking of a deep-water oil rig last month.

As the oil has continued to flow into the gulf and onto some 70 miles of Louisiana coastline, the administration has upped the rhetoric on how the leak is being fought. Throughout, the administration has maintained that it is doing all it can and that BP, which operates the well, is the responsible party for the cleanup.

Over the weekend, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar complained about BP’s performance and threatened to have the federal government take over the operation, a possibility that the White House last week said could not be done. 

“That’s more of a metaphor,” Allen said Monday, when asked about Salazar’s comments. ‘We need to make sure that [BP officials] execute their responsibilities.”

Allen explained that the law requires BP to be responsible for the cleanup and that the federal government is responsible for making sure the company carries it out.

“To push BP out of the way would raise the question to replace them with what?” Allen said.

Allen explained that the company had the resources, skilled personnel and equipment that the government lacks to deal with the underwater flow.

--Michael Muskal

Twitter.com/LATimesmuskal


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