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    August 21

  • 04:45 AM

BP fund for spill victims

Added 15 June 2010

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GULFPORT – The White House said yesterday  BP appeared willing  to set up the kind of victims compensation fund President Barack Obama was demanding, as Obama set out on a three-state tour of the stricken Gulf Coast.Spokesman Bill Burton, speaking to reporters travelling with Obama aboard Air Force One  to the Gulf, said the  White House and BP  were “working out the particulars,” such as the amount of the fund and how it will be administered. The account would be run by an independent third-party entity, Burton said, and would run into “the billions of dollars,” although he wouldn’t give a specific amount.“We’re confident that this is a critical way  in which we’re going  to be able to help individuals and businesses in the Gulf area become whole again,” the spokesman said.BP’s board was meeting yesterday in London  to discuss deferring its second-quarter dividend and putting the money into escrow until the company’s liabilities  from the spill are known. BP spokeswoman Sheila Williams had said earlier that the company  was aware of the White House’s demand  for a compensation  fund, but declined  to comment further.The administration said earlier that Obama was prepared to force BP,  if necessary, to set up the fund. Burton said yesterday that Obama’s aides were “confident we have the legal authority” to do that. But he didn’t expand on how, saying  it wasn’t necessary “considering BP is going  to do this.”Obama’s two-day trip  to Mississippi, Alabama and Florida launches  a busy week for  the government’s  attempt to get control  of the nation’s worst environmental disaster. The president plans  to address the nation from the Oval Office tonight  after his return, and he  is to meet with BP executives face-to-face  for the first time tomorrow. (AP)

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