Allen: Oversight Needed of BP's Claim Payments

U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen on "Face the Nation," June 13, 2010.
U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen on "Face the Nation," June 13, 2010.

The federal government is moving to put in place more oversight of BP's response to the Gulf oil spill, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said today.

The Obama administration wants an independent third party to administer a BP-funded escrow fund to handle claims, he said. Additionally, the federal government today is deploying its own sensors at the oil leak to monitor the spill.

The administration is concerned about the claims process, since it is not the core function of an oil producing company, said Allen, the point man for the federal government's response to the oil spill in the Gulf, on CBS' "Face the Nation."

President Obama will address the issue when he meets with BP executives this week.

It was also announced today that prior to his meeting with the oil company's officials, Mr. Obama will speak to the nation from the Oval office on Tuesday about the response to the disaster.

"We've been very concerned about the claims process," Allen told host Bob Schieffer. "It's not clear to us that there's the right of transparency involved concerning the data, how long it takes to pay claims. We'll be talking about an independent third party that can administer a fund to make sure it happens quicker."

Meanwhile, after learning last week that the amount of oil spewing from the leak is much higher than initially thought, Allen said that sensors will be deployed at the leak today to start taking pressure readings to take independent pressure readings, to validate measurement that have been made by scientists looking at the video and other acoustic data.

Allen maintained, however, that BP was not to blame for the inaccurate figures about the size of the oil leak.

"They were never BP's figures. They were our figures," he said. "We have several different methods of trying to establish the flow rate, from taking overhead satellite imagery of the oil on the water to using very high resolution video to try to assess the volume of the flow and velocity at which it's rising."

Allen said that the oil is spilling out at a rate as high as possibly 40,000 barrels a day, but "we'll only know what is flowing out of that well when we have it completely capped."