News / USA

Obama Says He Will Not Rest Until Oil Spill is Contained

Multimedia

Audio
Kent Klein

U.S. President Barack Obama is angrily blasting oil industry officials who he says are failing to accept blame for the massive oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico.  The president says all parties need to take responsibility, including the government.

President Obama says he is angry and frustrated by oil executives' response to the catastrophic spill, after a BP oil rig blew up last month off the Louisiana coast.

In the White House Rose Garden, the president told reporters the finger-pointing needs to stop.

"I did not appreciate what I considered to be a ridiculous spectacle during the congressional hearings into this matter," said Obama.  "You had executives of BP and Transocean and Halliburton falling over each other to point the finger of blame at somebody else.  The American people could not have been impressed with that display, and I certainly was not."

Mr. Obama said some of the blame extends into his own administration.  He said he will force government regulators to make it tougher for oil companies to get drilling permits.

"For too long, for a decade or more, there has been a cozy relationship between the oil companies and the federal agency that permits them to drill," he added.  "It seems as if permits were too often issued based on little more than assurances of safety from the oil companies.  That cannot and will not happen anymore."

As the president spoke, robots at the bottom of the Gulf tried to move a tube into the pipe that has pumped millions of liters of oil into the water.  BP said it hoped to know within hours whether the tube had successfully diverted the oil to a tanker at the surface.

Mr. Obama admitted that there is uncertainty about exactly how much oil is being spilled.  He said government efforts have been geared toward the possibility of a "catastrophic event."

The president said the system "failed and failed badly," and everyone involved bears the responsibility for fixing it.

"The oil companies share it; the manufacturers of this equipment share it; the agencies in the federal government in charge of oversight share that responsibility," he added.  "I will not tolerate more finger pointing or irresponsibility."

Mr. Obama called on Congress to quickly pass legislation to spend more money to clean up the spill, and to provide unemployment assistance and job training to people affected by the crisis.

After the spill, the president asked Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to reform the government agency that oversees oil drilling.  Salazar said this week the part of the agency which permits oil and gas drilling and collects royalties will be separated from the part which inspects the safety of oil rigs.

Mr. Obama said he has enacted other reforms, including re-examining the environmental procedures for oil and gas exploration and development.

A map of some of the world's worst oil spills:

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid