WASHINGTON, May 29 — U.S. President Barack Obama inspected a Louisiana beach on Friday to show that he was taking charge of the response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. This is Obama's second visit to the Gulf areas after the oil spill.
"It's an assault on our shores, on our people, on the regional economy and on communities like this one," Obama said after meeting governors and lawmakers from the five affected states. "People are watching their livelihoods wash up on the beach."
With about 22,000 people already in the region working to contain and clean up the still-gushing crude, Obama ordered Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Coast Guard chief Admiral Thad Allen to "triple the manpower in places where oil has hit the shore or is within 24 hours of impact."
The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, owned by Transocean and leased by BP, sank April 22 some 52 km off Venice, Louisiana, after burning for roughly 36 hours. The untapped wellhead continues gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico. With the oil continuing to come ashore, criticism of the spill response mounted.
Defending his response, Obama said the government had begun gathering vessels and equipment to deal with the cleanup from the first days of the accident. He also stressed there were no simple solutions to the spill.
"There are going to be a lot of judgment calls involved here. There are not going be silver bullets or a lot of perfect answers for some of the challenges that we face."
Obama said he had deployed doctors to the affected areas to check on coast residents' and rescue workers' health.
"I'm here to tell you (residents) that you are not alone, you will not be abandoned, you will not be left behind," Obama said. "The media may get tired of the story, but we will not. We will be on your side and we will see this through."
He also pleaded for volunteers to join the cleanup effort and for tourists to spend money along the majority of the region's coastline that is untouched by the spill. (PNA/Xinhua) scs/rsm