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Dems to BP: Delay Paying Shareholder Dividends

Two Democratic senators are pressing BP to delay plans to pay shareholder dividends worth an expected $10 billion or more until the full costs for cleaning up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are calculated.

Senators Charles Schumer of New York and Ron Wyden of Oregon called it "unfathomable" that BP would pay out a dividend to shareholders before the total cost of the cleanup is known. In a letter to BP CEO Tony Hayward, the lawmakers said taking action to "move money off of the company's books" will make it more difficult for BP to pay the U.S. government, fishermen and others affected by the environmental disaster.

BP has paid an estimated $1 billion to clean up the oil leak and expects to spend billions more.

A BP spokesman declined to comment about the Senate letter. The company paid $10.4 billion in dividends last year.

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