News / USA

Obama to Face Media on Gulf Oil Disaster

TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid