Oil Spill

Law Giving BP Cleanup Responsibility Created ‘Cognitive Dissonance,’ Admiral Says


The admiral in charge of overseeing the response to the BP oil spill says federal laws that put the company in charge of the cleanup created a perceived conflict between the company’s duties to the public and to its shareholders.

Speaking in New Orleans last week at a meeting of the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said the public didn’t believe that BP could suppress its duties to shareholders while taking responsibility for the cleanup, according to stories by the Times-Picayune and the Associated Press.

“Folks, this has resulted in cognitive dissonance all over the country,” said Allen, who is heading in to retirement.

Allen told a White House-appointed oil spill commission Monday that a third party, rather than the company or the government, should be put in charge of the cleanup. He said a third-party administrator would “represent the industry, oversee the response, have access to the resources, but basically … be firewalled from any fiduciary link back to the shareholders—almost putting the resources in trust.”

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