I’d have sacked BP boss, fumes Obama

Daily Mail - - News - From David Gardner in Los An­ge­les

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

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