Nightly News | May 15, 2010
>> nbc 's mark potter , thank you.
>>> now to the white house where the president's outrage has turned into a new demand. not only for answers, but for money, lots of it. nbc 's mike viqueira is at the white house with that part of the story. mike?
>> reporter: good evening, mika . today, a demand from the administration to bp , pay every cent, not only of the cost of stopping that leak beneath the gulf of mexico and cleaning up its aftermath, but the damage to livelihoods and the local gulf coast economies. even as the interior secretary toured the gulf today , and stood shoulder to shoulder with a bp executive at a press conference, the administration was playing hard ball with the company. in a letter to bp 's chief executive, salazar joined the homeland security secretary in demanding that bp commit now to pay every cent of not only cleanup, but for the spill's economic fallout as well, writing the public has a right to a clear understanding of bp 's commitment to redress all of the damage that has occurred, or that will occur in the future. we request immediate public clarification of bp 's true intentions. while bp has already pledged to pay whatever it takes, by law the company would only be required to pay $75 million. but the white house and congress are now moving to raise that limit by as much as 100 times .
>> when the top five companies make $25 billion in three months, $10 billion is a drop in the bucket.
>> reporter: the letter comes a day after the president lashed out at bp and other companies that built and operated the still leaking well.
>> i will not tolerate more finger pointing or irresponsibility. i did not appreciate what i considered to be a ridiculous spectacle during the congressional hearings into this matter.
>> reporter: but now the administration is also under fire, as new allegations that the agency in charge of regulating drilling, the minerals management service , gave oil companies permission for new wells before they obtained all needed environmental permits.
>> early days and we're still investigating what happened, but it sounds very much as if the minerals management service was was not as careful tass should have been when it was looking at whether or not to permit these deep water operations in the gulf.
>> reporter: the president demanded reforms and today salazar acknowledged some failures.
>> government has to stand up and assume its share of responsibility as well.
>> reporter: and mika , the president joined in the criticism of that agency, the minerals management service , tee crying what he calls the cozy relationship it has with the industry it is supposed to regulate. mika ?
>> mark viqueira at the white house , thank you.
>>> overseas now to bangkok where