News / USA

Obama to Face Media on Gulf Oil Disaster

When he goes before reporters on Thursday at a White House news conference, President Obama will face tough questions about his administration's handling of the deep sea oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. It will be the president's first news conference since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank in April.

The president has been under intense pressure from critics, on the right the left of the political spectrum, and from the media over steps taken to deal with the Gulf situation, and the pressure his administration has placed on BP to deal with the leak.

Hard questions are being asked about what comes next, what President Obama will do if the leak cannot be stopped, and what will be done even if it is, to try to prevent a recurrence and strengthen offshore drilling regulation.

The president, who will make his second visit to the Gulf area on Friday, made these remarks on Wednesday in California before heading back to Washington.  "Let me reiterate, we will not rest until this well is shut, the environment is repaired and cleanup is complete," he said.

For several weeks, President Obama and his advisers have also sought to focus the attention of the media on what the administration has done to enlist the best scientific and engineering minds to work on the problem and avoid future catastrophes.

The question of what the government will do going forward was addressed earlier this week by the now former U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen, who has been retained by the president as the point person overseeing the government's overall response.

Admiral Allen was asked about what will be done to compare current U.S. oil drilling regulation with standards in other parts of the world. "I have asked my staff to take a look at other regulatory regimes around the world, and how certain countries treat the regulation and the inspections of blow out preventers and drilling systems," he said.

Examinations of international standards, he added, could take place under the International Maritime Organization, to which the U.S. is a signatory,  to compare current inspection procedures with those in force elsewhere.

Among questions asked repeatedly has been whether the Deepwater Horizon disaster will force a change in the president's decision to expand offshore drilling in coming years.  The government has already blocked for now issuance of final permits for new drilling activity.

Thursday's news conference will also coincide with delivery of a formal report to the president from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on what has been uncovered so far on the origins of the Gulf catastrophe.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs also pointed to an independent commission created by the president who he says is committed to a thorough review of all aspects of the situation. "Looking at both the role of industry and the role of government in regulating industry.  The president I think has been very clear that we should not spare any expense in looking at both of those aspects in what may or may not have caused this," he said.

A day before President Obama's news conference, angry lawmakers in a House of Representatives hearing confronted Interior Secretary Ken Salazar with questions about reports of weak enforcement and ethics violations by government offshore drilling inspectors.

Salazar underscored the government's commitment to hold BP accountable for all costs related to the oil leak, another issue expected to feature prominently in Thursday's news conference. "That means all response costs to this oil spill, which is their spill, it means all damages will be paid with respect to any impacts of natural resource, it means all costs related to the cleanup, and it means those who will be effected in the Gulf coast from an economic point of view will also receive compensation," he said.

Salazar made a point of noting that in several meetings with BP, the company in his words pledged not to "hide behind" a $75 million damage liability limit currently in force under U.S. law, which lawmakers intend to eliminate, a move the Obama administration supports.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs