Obama visits Gulf, says BP is responsible
President Obama arrived today for a tour of the Gulf of Mexico to see firsthand the catastrophic effects of the oil slick that is rapidly approaching the shore. After meeting with response officials, he made a statement to the press in Venice, Louisiana. "BP is responsible for this leak," he said, "BP will be paying the bill," and detailed the government response to the crisis so far, reiterating the government's commitment to stopping the leak.
With choppy waves and bad weather, the protective boom set up to protect the coastal wetlands is already proving inadequate, and the oil spill is proving enormous and currently immeasurable. The Coast Guard commandant, Admiral Thad Allen, said on CNN today, "This spill, at this point in my view, is indeterminate. That makes it asymmetrical, anomalous and one of the most complex things we've ever dealt with."
Just a month after President Obama claimed "oil rigs today generally don't cause spills" and authorized an expansion of offshore drilling, he must bear witness to the irreparable environmental and economic damage being done to the region.
"People are asking if enough is being done - there is no 'enough' because it is so out of control. We can't cure this one, we can only prevent the next one from happening. What we really need is for President Obama to take more dramatic steps towards preventing future oil spills. His announcement Friday that new offshore leases would be put on hold doesn't really mean much and isn't expected to effect current offshore drilling operations. We need a full offshore drilling moratorium to prevent catastrophes like this. If President Obama is saying that BP is responsible for this leak, he must also take responsibility for the government's role in offshore drilling," said said Mark Floegel, Greenpeace Research Director who is currently on site in Venice, Louisiana.
"While the President is in Louisiana, we hope he'll talk to the fisherman and shrimpers whose livelihoods have been lost, see the beginnings of the effects on the ecosystem and wildlife that depend on these coastal wetlands, and see firsthand what dirty energy means for America," he said.