BP chairman invited to meet Obama next week

BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg and other company officials have been invited to meet with President Barack Obama next Wednesday. 

If Svanberg accepts the invitation, made in a letter to BP from National Incident Commander Adm. Thad Allen, it will be the first meeting between Obama and a senior BP official since the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20.

In the letter, Allen said the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill was the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history. He also repeated that BP is "financially responsible for all costs related to the spill." This includes efforts to stop the leak, reduce the spread of the spill, protect the shoreline, mitigate damages and long-term recovery efforts. 

Allen said Obama would participate in a portion of the meeting between BP representatives and senior administration officials. 

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Earlier on Thursday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs dodged a question asking if the president will meet with BP CEO Tony Hayward, who has become the public face of the company since the spill began. Hayward is scheduled to testify in front of a congressional panel on Wednesday.

Gibbs said that, under BP's corporate structure, the chairman of the board authorizes all decisions the company makes during the spill recovery and cleanup effort. 

Calls for Obama to meet with BP officials had escalated as the spill has worn on and affected Gulf coast residents have complained that the company has not honored their claims. 

Cross-posted to the E-2 Wire

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