Earlier this week, the Obama administration vowed to press BP to set up an escrow account to pay for the oil spill damage along the Gulf Coast, but recent reports suggest the deal appears to be stalling.
Still at issue are the size of the fund, the question of a third-party administrator and whether BP shareholders would have to approve the transfer of money, according to BusinessWeek, which cited anonymous sources.
The news comes as President Obama is scheduled to meet today with BP CEO Tony Hayward and Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg at the White House, but there are indications he is planning to pursue the matter further.
In last night’s speech from the Oval Office, Obama said that he will tell Svanberg "that he is to set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company’s recklessness."
The administration’s moves are being closely watched by environmental and civil rights groups. In a recent letter to Obama, the Environmental Defense Fund called for allocating money within the escrow account explicitly for habitat restoration along the coast.
Meanwhile, the American Association for Justice urged the government to find a solution that will "protect Gulf coasters, not shield BP."