An open letter from BP executives to residents of the United States and especially Louisiana:
Dear U.S. Citizens,
We continue to be embarrassed by our inability to plug the oil and gas that are spewing from the depths of the Gulf of Mexico. You are aware of the multiple efforts we have tried over the past month to capture the oil and gas, but each of them has failed. We are sorry.
We also have failed to be a good neighbor to you, and we apologize also for that.
The truth is that no oil company has put in place plans to deal with the crisis such as the one we are dealing with now. We leave it to you to tell us if that was irresponsible business practice or if what is happening in the Gulf of Mexico is one of those circumstances that no one could have prepared for.
The federal government is an important ally in our effort to find a solution, but it is BP's responsibility to find the answers and to pay for all the costs associated with what has happened in the Gulf. The blame is ours, and ours alone.
We hope that you believe us when we say we are working as hard as possible to get this crisis solved. We underestimated the complexity of the problem before, but we are doing our best to make up for that mistake.
UPDATE: 2:30 p.m. EDT:
BP's need to be blunt honest has been increased because of the information contained in this Los Angeles Times report:
A top Obama administration official warned Sunday that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill might not be stopped until late summer after BP's latest attempt to plug the leak failed.
The "American people need to know" that it's "possible we will have oil leaking from this well until August, when the relief wells will be finished," said Carol Browner, the White House energy advisor.
Browner said on CBS that Energy Secretary Steven Chu and a team of scientists on Saturday essentially put a halt to BP's attempt to cap the spewing well through a process known as "top kill." The administration team worried that the increasing pressure from heavy drilling mud being forced into the well to seal it actually would make the leak worse.