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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More