News / USA

Obama Under Increased Pressure Over Gulf of Mexico Oil Disaster

David Dyar

President Barack Obama is under more pressure regarding his administration's actions to deal with the month-long Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Much of Thursday's briefing by the president's spokesman was taken up with questions about the scope of the disaster and the response by BP.

With oil still spewing from the well some 1,500 meters under where the Deepwater Horizon rig once stood, the Obama administration continues to defend the measures it is taking in overseeing cleanup operations, and the pressure it is placing on BP.

Just as White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was beginning his briefing, U.S. television networks aired new video from BP, including a live feed from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, showing significant continuing flows.

Reporters pressed Gibbs, who weeks ago said the government intended to pressure BP to take action and investigate how forthcoming BP has been amid intense public and media demands for more information about the disaster and the clean up costs. "They are responsible.  They will get the bill; the taxpayers won't.  And it is being overseen by many elements of the federal government," he said.

Earlier, a BP spokesman said a long tube inserted into the leak is capturing about 800,000 liters of oil per day, an indication that the leak is much larger than previously estimated.  But BP has been siphoning oil from only one of two leaks.

On Capitol Hill, Massachusetts Democratic Representative Ed Markey referred to the underwater video of the leak and criticized BP, asserting that its estimate of leaking oil was far below the actual rate. "The 5,000 barrels [of oil] a day estimate that BP pushed all along, is dead wrong," he said.

Amid fears of widespread environmental damage, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered BP to use a less toxic form of chemical dispersants to help break up the oil.  

Heavy oil is now washing ashore in delicate marshland areas of Louisiana.  White House spokesman Gibbs said government officials are trying to determine how much oil is entering the Loop Current, which could carry it toward Florida and the Atlantic Ocean.

California Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer asserted that BP efforts are not working and said the company was attempting to cover up the size of the spill.

Calling the notion of any coverup "ridiculous," Gibbs had this response when asked about efforts to deal with what he called a "catastrophic event": "You're talking about an incident that is 5,000 feet below the surface of the sea, for a well that is an additional four miles below that one mile surface [distance]," he said.

Amid escalating anger in Congress, Senator Boxer and fellow Democrat Bill Nelson of Florida referred to estimates by scientists that as much as 11 million liters of oil are leaking from the Gulf of Mexico each day.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake 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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid