Most Americans oppose President Barack Obama
’s ban on deepwater oil drilling in response to BP Plc
’s Gulf of Mexico spill, even as they hold the company primarily responsible for the incident.
Almost three-fourths, or 73 percent, say a ban is unnecessary, calling the worst oil spill in U.S. history a “freak accident,” according to a Bloomberg National Poll. Barely more than a third say they support drilling less than they did a few months ago. The BP
rig sank in April. The administration issued a new moratorium this week after a court rejected a six-month one imposed in May.
“A ban will destroy the economy in that area over nothing,” said poll respondent Ron Smallcomb, 64, a used-car dealer in Mountaintop, Pennsylvania. “This is crazy. If there’s a plane crash you don’t ground all the airlines and stop flying completely.”
Eight in 10 of those questioned in the July 9-12 poll say London-based BP should pay for all damage caused by the spill. Six in 10 say BP, not the federal government, should reimburse wages lost by oil workers laid off because of the moratorium, with 56 percent saying even the possibility of bankruptcy shouldn’t allow the company to escape paying.
Asked who was most to blame for the spill, 44 percent say BP, and 19 percent say lax federal regulations and oversight. One in five say no one is to blame.
“It’s their fault,” Dan Urban, 45, an unemployed restaurant manager in Las Vegas, said of BP. “They are ultimately responsible for what they did whether they go bankrupt or not.”