News / USA

Obama On Third Visit to Gulf, Inspects Oil Leak Progress, Blasts BP


President Obama is making a third visit to the U.S. Gulf coast to inspect progress in stopping the deep-sea oil leak and fighting oil washing ashore on beaches in four states. It was the president's second visit to the area in a week, and came amid ongoing efforts by BP to cap the leaking well in the Gulf.

Facing criticism that he has failed to demonstrate sufficient empathy for people in the Gulf suffering from the impact of the oil leak, the president this time included visits with local residents, business leaders and fishermen in addition to meetings with local and state officials.

President Obama has said he is furious about the situation, the strongest term he has used since the April 20th explosion that killed 11 workers and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling platform.

In remarks to reporters after arriving in Louisiana, and shortly before he was driven to the town of Grand Isle, the president referred to media advertising BP is using to manage its image, saying BP should not be nickel and diming Gulf coast residents when it comes to compensation claims. "They have got moral and legal obligations here in the Gulf for the damage that has been done and what I don't want to hear is when they are spending that kind of money on their shareholders, and spending that kind of money on TV advertising that they are nickle and diming fishermen or small businesses here in the Gulf who are having a hard time," he said.

Nora Combel, a woman in Grand Isle, said, "I think he is down here to help us. I really do."

BP has succeeded in installing a large containment cap on the leaking well 1.5 kilometers below the water's surface to siphon oil to a collection ship at the surface.

But the company said it would not be possible to estimate how much oil and gas would be captured, and that the system's efficiency, continued operation, and ability to contain oil and gas could not be assured.

BP chief executive Tony Hayward has been sharply criticized over his handling of cleanup efforts, and statements he has made, and there have been calls for his resignation.  

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who was among Gulf state governors with the president on this visit, is among those sharply questioning BP leadership. "If I was on that board [of directors of BP]  I would wonder about trusting a multi-billion company to somebody who is making those kind of statements.  But at the end of the day it doesn't matter to me who they have running the company as long as they do a better job than what they are doing today," he said.

The federal government has sent a $69 million bill to BP and what it called other responsible parties for costs so far of responding to the oil disaster and cleanup operations.

As the president toured areas of the Gulf on Friday, oil which had previously come ashore in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, devastating wildlife populations, was beginning to wash up on beaches in the Florida panhandle.

Another casualty of the oil disaster has been President Obama's plan to visit to Indonesia and Australia later this month.  

After postponing it last March as he struggled with the U.S. Congress over health care legislation, the president postponed a second time after he and his advisers decided he should remain in the U.S. to deal with the Gulf oil situation.

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.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Music Brings Generations Together

When musicians over the age of 50 headline a rock concert, you expect to see baby boomer fans in the audience. Boomer rock stars have boomer fans. Millennial rock stars have millennial fans. But this isn’t always the case. Take the Lockn’ Music festival which took place in mid-September in rural Arrington, Virginia. Here, Jacquelyn de Phillips discovered two generations of people who are considered quite different in the outside world, spending 4 days together in music-loving harmony.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke 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 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 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.

VOA Blogs