Gulf oil spill: Obama plans third visit to Gulf Coast
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President Obama will head to the Louisiana Gulf Coast on Friday for his third visit to look at efforts to fight the massive oil spill in the region, the White House announced Thursday.
The visit comes as oil company BP continues its efforts to stop the leak at its well about a mile below the surface of the ocean. The disaster, which began with the explosion and sinking of a deep-water rig on April 20, has already spewed millions of gallons of oil into the gulf and is considered the nation’s worst oil disaster.
Seeking to contain the political as well as the environmental effects of the leak, the Obama administration has stepped up its tempo in recent weeks, making officials, including the president, more visible and taking a tougher approach to dealing with BP.In his recent appearances, Obama has insisted that dealing with the disaster is his administration’s top priority. On Wednesday, he again pledged to fight the leak and its effects in a speech in Pittsburgh, where he called on the Senate to pass comprehensive climate and energy legislation.
Despite the administration’s efforts, which include more than 20,000 people along the gulf fighting the encroaching oil, local officials have complained that the administration has moved too slowly to deal with the spill, which is expected to continue to be an issue beyond the November elections.
-- Michael Muskal