News / USA

    Obama Promises Gulf Coast Will 'Return to Normal'

    Multimedia

    Audio

    President Barack Obama says the federal government is committed "for the long haul" to help residents along the Gulf of Mexico deal with the economic and environmental impact of the BP oil spill. The president spoke on his fourth visit to the affected area, ahead of an address to the nation on Tuesday and a meeting with top BP officials on Wednesday.

    Meeting with residents and business owners, and accompanied by state and local officials, the president spent the day visiting oil spill response and coordination centers in Mississippi and Alabama.

    After a briefing by U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who is in charge of the overall government response, the president said he wants people along the Gulf of Mexico to know that the government, as he put it, is in this for the long haul.

    Mr. Obama said he is committed to ensuring that people and businesses in the area are adequately compensated for damages and losses they are experiencing, adding that problems remain with the process of filing claims with BP.

    At a stop in Theodore, Alabama, the president toured a facility repairing booms used in containing oil, and spoke to workers.  He pledged that the government will help Gulf residents deal with the disaster and its effects.

    "I promise you this - things are going to return to normal," he said. "This region that has known a lot of hardship will bounce back just like it has bounce back before.  We are going to do everything we can, 24/7, to make sure that communities get back on their feet."

    With large areas of the Gulf closed to fishing and the industry reeling from the impact of the spill, the president announced what he called a comprehensive coordinated multi-agency initiative to ensure that seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is safe to eat.

    BP is continuing efforts to increase the amount of oil being captured from its damaged underwater well.  Scientists estimate that between 950,000 and 2.5 million barrels of oil have already spilled.

    Referring to last week's upward revision of the amount of oil leaking from the well, with substantially higher numbers than originally estimated by BP,  Admiral Allen said President Obama and government officials want to make sure that BP is applying sufficient resources to deal with the spill.

    "What has happened [is] this thing has evolved and as we have been able to refine the flow rate estimates," he said. "And as you know, we revised them upward last week.  We want to make sure that BP has enough capacity on hand to handle the increased flow rate estimates."

    Allen said BP has a goal of capturing 28,000 barrels of oil from the leaking well by the end of the week.  But knowing what percentage this is of the total amount leaking from the well will not be possible until a tight seal is on the well.   

    In advance of President Obama's meeting this week with BP executives, the government is in discussions with the company on a multi-billion-dollar fund that would pay out on claims filed by individuals and businesses.

    "So far, we have had a constructive conversation and my hope is that by the time the [BP] chairman and I meet on Wednesday that we have made sufficient progress and we can start actually seeing a structure that would be in place," he said.

    The White House says that among the issues the president will discuss with BP officials will be the size of the fund, which would be administered by a third party.

    As for President Obama's Tuesday evening address to the nation, White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton said the president will outline steps taken so far to stop the flow of oil, mitigate the impact of oil that has come ashore and efforts to ensure that people affected by the disaster are compensated.  

    You May Like

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.