WASHINGTON — President Obama for the first time will address the nation about the ongoing oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday night and outline his plans to legally force BP executives to create an escrow account reserving billions of dollars to compensate businesses and individuals if the company does not do so on its own, a senior administration official said on Sunday.
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“The president will use his legal authority to compel them,” said Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman.
Mr. Gibbs did not elaborate on the legal basis for such a move but said that White House lawyers have been researching the matter for days. The president is seizing the initiative after reports on Friday from London that BP would voluntarily establish an escrow account — either for compensating victims or for delaying a planned dividend for BP shareholders — turned out to be less certain than the White House initially thought.