In Advance of Tonight's Oval Office Address

It looks like President Obama is planning to "take over" the oil spill claims process from BP:

He noted in one interview that Obama "has the legal authority" to make the claims process independent. And Gibbs said "the best way to prevail upon BP is to take the claims process away from BP."

"The president will either legally compel them," he said, "or come to an agreement with BP to get out of the claims process, give that to an independent entity."

That seems to be possible under the claims process outlined in OPA, the Oil Pollution Act, which was passed in the wake of the Exxon Valdez incident.  Several provisions specifically outline a role for the president (see any non-delegation issues, though?).

Unlike my concerns about the offshore drilling moratorium, I'm convinced there's a much more firm basis for presidential (or, more generally, executive branch) action in this realm.  Still, I think it's important for legal observers to keep a close eye out to ensure that the actual presidential exercise of authority is rooted in that basis...and doesn't stray beyond in a further attempt by the President to overcompensate for earlier perceived failings in addressing the spill scenario.