News / USA

Obama Warns Oil Spill Will Substantially Impact Economy

President Barack Obama Obama has met with Cabinet and other officials dealing with the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  The president says it is clear there will be substantial ongoing economic effects from the spill.

The president spoke after meeting with Cabinet and other officials directly involved in the response to the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

If containment efforts are successful, he said, it will take at least two more months for relief wells to be completed.  Even after that, the president said Americans should be prepared for a substantial and ongoing economic impact.

"This will be contained.  It may take some time and it is going to  take a whole lot of effort," he said   "There is going to be damage done to the Gulf coast, and there is going to be economic damage that we have got to make sure BP is responsible for and compensates people for," said the president.

Among those taking part in the meeting was U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who is in command of the overall government response.

While BP is managing to siphon an increasing amount of oil using a containment cap on the damaged well, Admiral Allen said the spill has broken into numerous separate patches on the surface.

This he says presents cleanup crews with an enormous task as they deal with what he calls an "enemy that changes," and an impact on wetland areas as part of long-term environmental effects that will be felt for years.

"I think we need to be realistic and honest and transparent with the American people," said Allen.  "When the relief well is finished and it is capped, sometime in August, oil will have flowed to the surface in some manner because we probably will not get 100-percent containment, we want as much as we can get, so there will still be oil on the surface the day the well is capped," he added.

Admiral Allen said oil being captured from the damaged undersea well each day is approaching 15,000 barrels, though experts have still not established an exact rate of flow.  He says it is "critical" to increase the capacity of skimming operations to remove oil on the surface.

Admiral Allen said the government needs to continue keeping a close eye on BP operations in the course of what he says will be a long campaign against the spill.

"We ought to be ruthless in our oversight of BP and try and understand what oil is not being contained, is leaking out around that rubber seal, once we know what that flow rate is," he said.  "And we need to understand completely that if we have severe weather in the form of a hurricane, there may be times when we are going to have to disconnect that operation and re-establish it and during that time we are going to have oil coming to the surface again," said Admiral Allen.

President Obama repeated what he said while visiting the Gulf last week, saying he does not want to see BP "nickel and diming"  people and businesses applying for compensation.

He expressed confidence in the ability of the Gulf Coast and its people to recover in the long-run.

"We are confident that not only are we going to be able to get past this immediate crisis, but we are going to be focusing our attention on making sure the coast fully recovers and that eventually it comes back even stronger than it was before this crisis," said President Obama.

The Gulf oil disaster is the subject of several House and Senate hearings this week.  Among other things, lawmakers are working to increase the liability limit in U.S. law, currently set at $75 million.

At one of those hearings, held in Louisiana on Monday, Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Ed Markey said legislation he is introducing would require oil companies to fund development of improved safety and cleanup tools to deal with similar future disasters.

Related video by Robert Raffaele:

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs