MinnPost: BP agrees to U.S. demands, will suspend dividend and create cleanup fund

WASHINGTON — After intense pressure from the White House and lawmakers, BP has agreed to suspend its dividend payments and create a $20 billion escrow fund to cover cleanup costs and damages.

The announcement came after a four-hour meeting between senior BP leaders and White House officials, part of which President Obama attended.

“This $20 billion will provide substantial assurance that the claims people and businesses have will be honored,” Obama said following the meeting. “It’s also important to emphasize this is not a cap. The people of the Gulf have my commitment that BP will meet its obligations to them. BP has publicly pledged to make good on the claims that it owes to the people in the Gulf, and so the agreement we reached sets up a financial and legal framework to do it.”

The announcement also comes after repeated requests from members of Congress that BP do exactly what it eventually agreed to. Sen. Amy Klobuchar was among those requesting the escrow fund be immediately established, while Reps. Keith Ellison and Tim Walz signed a letter asking for the dividend to be suspended.

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