Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama will visit the Gulf states affected by the oil spill on Monday and Tuesday and then address the nation from the White House on the next steps in responding to the environmental catastrophe, his senior adviser said Sunday.
Obama’s televised statement will come the night before he is scheduled to meet with top BP officials.
A White House official told CNN that Obama would push BP to create a BP-funded escrow account that will pay for damage claims from the worsening oil spill.
“The president will make clear that he expects, and that if necessary will exercise his full legal authority to ensure, that BP sets aside the funds required to pay individuals and businesses damaged by this massive spill,” the White House official said on condition of anonymity.
In addition, the official said, the plan would call for the money set aside by BP to be “paid out under fair, efficient, and transparent procedures administered by an independent third-party panel established just for this purpose.”
Later Sunday, the president’s senior adviser, David Axelrod, said on the NBC program “Meet the Press” that Obama’s televised address on Tuesday would spell out the strategy for dealing with the massive oil spill and ensuring that BP provides the necessary money to cover all legitimate damage claims.
“We have some clarity now about the oil that’s escaping, about how we’re going to approach it,” Axelrod said.
He insisted that BP would be held accountable for causing the oil spill and paying for all damages.
“The assistance is going to come from BP,” Axelrod said. Asked about the possibility that BP could go under due to the financial demands of paying damages expected to be in the billions of dollars, Axelrod said: “We believe that BP has the resources to meet the claims, and we’re going to make sure that they do.”
The White House has asked U.S. television networks for time to broadcast Obama’s address at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday. According to the White House, the address is expected to be about 15 minutes long and cover the Gulf oil crisis, including reorganization at the Mineral Management Service in the Interior Department and how much oil is flowing from the broken well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.
In addition, the address will look ahead to the president’s meeting with BP executives on Wednesday, the White House said.