Oil spill the worst environmental disaster US has ever faced

Last Updated 16 June 2010, 04:17 IST
Oil spill the worst environmental disaster US has ever faced

After becoming the President of US in January 2009, this was for the first time that Obama addressed the nation from his Oval Office.

"The millions of gallons of oil that have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico are more like an epidemic, one that we will be fighting for months and even years," he said, hours after his return from his fourth visit of the region that are badly hit of oil spill.

"But make no mistake:  we will fight this spill with everything we've got for as long it takes.

We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused.

And we will do whatever necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from this tragedy," he said.

Obama said his administration has directed BP to mobilise additional equipment and technology.

In the coming days and weeks, these efforts should capture up to 90 per cent of the oil leaking out of the well.

This is until the company finishes drilling a relief well later in the summer that is expected to stop the leak completely, he said.

From the very beginning of this crisis, the federal government has been in charge of the largest environmental cleanup effort in the nation's history - an effort led by Admiral Thad Allen, who has almost forty years of experience responding to disasters.

"We now have nearly 30,000 personnel who are working across four states to contain and cleanup the oil.

Thousands of ships and other vessels are responding in the Gulf.
"I have authorised the deployment of over 17,000 National Guard members along the coast.

These servicemen and women are ready to help stop the oil from coming ashore, clean beaches, train response workers, or even help with processing claims - and I urge the governors in the affected states to activate these troops as soon as possible," he said.
"Because of our efforts, millions of gallons of oil have already been removed from the water through burning, skimming, and other collection methods.

Over five and a half million feet of boom have been laid across the water to block and absorb the approaching oil.

"We have approved the construction of new barrier islands in Louisiana to try and stop the oil before it reaches the shore, and we are working with Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida to implement creative approaches to their unique coastlines," he said.

"We have to recognise that despite our best efforts, oil has already caused damage to our coastline and its wildlife.

And sadly, no matter how effective our response becomes, there will be more oil and more damage before this siege is. That's why the second thing we're focused on is the recovery and restoration of the Gulf Coast," he said.

"In order to ensure that all legitimate claims are paid out in a fair and timely manner, the account must and will be administered by an independent, third party," he said.

Today, Obama will be meeting the chairman of BP, during which, he will inform him that he is to set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company's recklessness.
And this fund will not be controlled by BP.

(Published 16 June 2010, 03:47 IST)

Follow us on