Despite assurances from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu that BP would pay for workers’ losses from the six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf, the energy giant appears to have successfully argued it isn’t responsible for the economic fallout of the ban. On this issue, close observers of the moratorium believe, BP has the stronger case.

Last week, in a White House meeting between top BP officials and the president, BP agreed to put $20 billion in escrow to fund cleanup costs and lost wages to fishermen and others out of work, but the negotiations left a burning question: How would the Obama administration hold BP’s feet to the fire on a government-imposed moratorium that forced 33 rigs to shut down? And yesterday The Wall Street Journal shed some light on the matter, reporting that behind the scenes, according to people on both sides of the negotiations, BP effectively pushed back on this very issue. The WSJ reported: 
BP successfully argued it shouldn’t be liable for most of the broader economic distress caused by the president’s six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. President Barack Obama came away touting how BP’s money would be handed over quickly and impartially to those hurt by the spill. Not only did BP earmark the $20 billion fund but it promised an additional $100 million for Gulf workers idled by the drilling moratorium.
But BP didn’t offer a blank check. The $100 million—0.5% of the total—won’t come close to covering collateral damage from the White House’s moratorium.
The drilling industry estimates the moratorium will cost rig workers as much as $330 million a month in direct wages, not counting businesses servicing those rigs like machine-shop workers.
BP and its defenders argue that the moratorium was a White House policy decision for which it shouldn’t be responsible. The final deal was structured to limit the company’s exposure to such claims.
Read the story here.

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