Farber on NewsHour: BP Liability

by Matthew Freeman

CPR Member Scholar Dan Farber was on the PBS NewsHour on June 14 discussing the Obama Administration's plan to force BP to establish an escrow fund to compensate victims of its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  You can see the entire interview with Ray Suarez, on the NewsHour site.  Here's a snip of the transcript:

RAY SUAREZ: Daniel Farber, you're familiar with what's in that federal oil protection act. Is there a mechanism in there for the government to say, you must create an escrow fund?

DANIEL FARBER: They're -- certainly, it's true that, at the end of the day, victims can go to court and sue. And BP also has to have a mechanism for processing claims before that. But I don't see anything at least that to my mind requires them to set up this escrow or trust fund. I think it might be a good idea, but I'm not at all sure that it's in the law.

RAY SUAREZ: Well, Daniel Farber, the advantages of having money set aside well before the years of litigation begin, is there something in it for BP, as well as for the claimants, if that can be agreed to?

DANIEL FARBER: No, I -- yes, I think -- I think there is. I think BP is facing a situation where there is enormous distrust about its capability for dealing with this, about its good faith, on the part of a lot of people inside the U.S. government and among the public. I think setting up a fund like this would be very helpful for them, in terms of showing good faith, of assuring people that they are going to take responsibility for what happened. So, I see a lot of reasons for them to do it. Whether they have to do it, though, is something that's less clear.

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