I’d have sacked BP boss, fumes Obama
BARACK OBAMA hit out angrily at BP boss Tony Hayward as the U.S. backlash against the British oil giant turned ugly yesterday.
In his toughest words yet on America’s worst oil spill, Mr Obama said he was focusing on ‘whose ass to kick’ and would have fired Mr Hayward for his past comments downplaying the scale of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
The increasingly belligerent president was asked in a TV interview about Mr Hayward’s remarks that the Gulf of Mexico was ‘a big ocean’, ‘the environmental impact is likely to be very, very modest’ and that he ‘wanted his life back’ after being in the eye of the storm over the spill.
‘He wouldn’t be working for me after any of those statements,’ said Mr Obama.
Frustrated at the slow progress in containing the flow of oil from the mile-deep leak, the president has been increasingly outspoken about BP and its inability to resolve the crisis since its rig exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers.
‘I don’t sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar. We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick,’ he said.
More Americans – 69 per cent – are unhappy about the Obama administration’s response to the spill than disapproved of George Bush’s botched handling of Hurricane Katrina five years ago, according to a poll.
Critics claim the devastation caused by the spill that has now spread to some of Florida’s white sandy tourist beaches could seriously harm the chances of Mr Obama’s Democrat Party in November’s midterm elections.
But the President insisted on NBC’s Today programme that he had been on top of the calamity from the start.
Continuing his attack on BP, he said: ‘The initial reports indicate there may be situations in which not only human error was involved, but you also saw some corner-cutting in terms of safety.’
His comments will increase the pressure on Mr Hayward, whose family are living in fear of reprisals over the spill after receiving threats.
Police have launched a security operation to protect Mr Hayward’s wife Maureen and their two children at their iso-
I don’t talk to experts because it’s a seminar. I talk to them so I know whose ass to kick
Barack Obama yesterday
lated £1million home in rural Kent.
Mrs Hayward said the family had received several threatening phone calls and hate mail claiming to be from environmental groups.
She said one letter purported to be from Greenpeace, although Greenpeace strongly denied sending any letters to the family.
Mrs Hayward said the abuse had been ‘upsetting’ and left them feeling ‘rather uncomfortable’, particularly with her husband thousands of miles away.
In another sign of the growing rift between BP and the U.S. government, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen said he was no longer trusting the company’s estimates on the amount of crude still flowing into the sea. He said a containment cap on the ruptured pipe was capturing up to 462,000 gallons of oil a day, about 11,000 barrels. BP put the figure at 466,200 gallons.
However, according to U.S. scientists BP’s Deepwater Horizon well could be spewing out more than 100,000 barrels of oil a day.
BP has given various estimates of how much oil it believes has leaked out but said from the start that the ‘worst case scenario’ was about 100,000 barrels.
The doomsday prediction appears to have been accurate, according to advisers to the U.S. Government.
One, Professor Ira Leifer, said: ‘In the data I’ve seen, there’s nothing inconsistent with BP’s worst case scenario.’
Fear: Tony Hayward