Washington, DC—Nevada Senator Harry Reid released the following statement today in reaction to reports that BP will set up a $20 billion accountability fund with independent oversight to pay claims from victims of the Gulf Coast oil spill. On Monday, Senate Democrats sent a letter to BP CEO Tony Hayward requesting the establishment of this fund:
“I am pleased by reports that BP has heeded the advice of Senate Democrats and the President to set up an independently-administered fund to protect the victims of the Gulf Coast oil spill. We sent our letter to request that BP set aside this money earlier this week because Senate Democrats have learned from the lessons of the past. While this fund will in no way limit BP’s liability, it is a good first step toward compensating victims. I look forward to learning more details about this fund, but I am hopeful that this development will help jump start the rebuilding process for the industries, businesses and residents in the Gulf Coast who were hurt by this disaster.
“Now that BP has signaled that it is willing to take some responsibility for its actions, Senate Republicans should cease their efforts to protect Big Oil from accountability. Senate Democrats remain committed to holding BP fully accountable for this spill as we work to help the victims of this incident rebuild their lives.”