News / USA

Obama: We Will Make BP Pay For Its Oil Spill

Kent Klein

 

Text of President Obama's speech

Video of the president's speech

President Barack Obama has told the American people the energy company BP will be required to pay for all the damage caused by its giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It was the president's first nationally-televised address from the Oval Office since he took office 17 months ago.  

Eight weeks after BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing 11 workers and sending oil spewing into the Gulf, President Obama said the U.S. government will hold the company responsible.

"But make no mistake: We will fight this spill with everything we have got for as long as it takes," said President Obama. "We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused.  And we will do whatever is necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from this tragedy."

Mr. Obama said when he meets with BP officials on Wednesday, he will demand that they establish a fund, administered by an independent third party, to benefit the spill's victims.

"Tomorrow, I will meet with the chairman of BP and 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," he said.

Immediately after the president spoke, BP released a statement saying it shared his goal of cleaning up the oil and helping those affected by the disaster.

Mr. Obama returned to Washington Tuesday, after inspecting the damage during a two-day visit to the Gulf region.

He spoke hours after the government raised its estimate of the amount of oil gushing out of the ruptured well.  A government panel of scientists now believes that between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels of oil are entering the Gulf each day, up from the previous estimate of 40,000.

Mr. Obama called for a long-term Gulf Coast restoration plan, to help the region recover from years of environmental disasters, including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

The president is also setting up a national commission to understand the causes of the BP disaster, and offer recommendations on new safety and environmental standards.

"A few months ago, I approved a proposal to consider new, limited offshore drilling under the assurance that it would be absolutely safe, that the proper technology would be in place and the necessary precautions would be taken," said President Obama. "That was obviously not the case on the Deepwater Horizon rig, and I want to know why."

In addition, Mr. Obama announced his choice to lead the government agency that oversees oil and gas development, which has been accused of lax oversight of the industry.  He picked a former federal prosecutor, Michael Bromwich.

"His charge over the next few months is to build an organization that acts as the oil industry's watchdog, not its partner," said Mr. Obama.

The agency's previous director stepped down last month.  The administration plans to break the agency into three separate offices.

Mr. Obama also made an appeal for the U.S. to end its dependence on foreign oil and build up its so-called clean energy industry.

Shortly before the president's speech, the top Republican in the House of Representatives, Minority Leader John Boehner, called the Obama administration's response to the oil leak inadequate and disorganized.  

A new Associated Press public opinion poll shows that 52 percent of Americans do not approve of the president's handling of the oil disaster-a higher number than in May.


You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs