On Tuesday, June 15, President Obama interrupted our regular programming to address the Gulf Coast oil leak. It is his first Oval Office address.
“Make no mistake,” he said. “We will fight this spill with everything we’ve got for as long it takes. We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused. And we will do whatever’s necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from this tragedy.”
Obama detailed his plan to meet with BP executives at the White House on June 16. He will require them to establish an account and “set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and
business owners.” We wonder if one company – even one as large as BP – could possibly begin to pay for the losses already caused by the spill, and the losses that the communities will continue to suffer.
In addition to establishing the escrow fund, which will be managed by a third party, Obama authorized that 17,000 members of the National
Guard be sent to the coast to “stop the oil from coming ashore, clean beaches, train
response workers, or help with processing claims.” He also has appointed Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to “restore the unique beauty and bounty” of the area.
Obama is also calling for a clean energy bill to help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. “Each day, we send nearly $1 billion of our wealth to foreign countries
for their oil. And today, as we look to the Gulf, we see an entire way
of life being threatened by a menacing cloud of black crude.”
Many have criticized the federal government’s inaction and slow response to the oil spill. This national address comes nearly two months after the Deepwater Horizon’s explosion.
We want to know your thoughts, Zap2it readers. Did Obama respond to the crisis fast enough? Is his plan sufficient? Do the financial consequences that BP will face make up for the destruction caused? Weigh in in the comments below.
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Photo: Residents of Grand Isle, a Gulf Coast community, watch the address. Credit: Getty Images