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Obama Commits To Long-Term Restoration Of Gulf Coast

Obama Commits To Long-Term Restoration Of Gulf Coast

Fresh from a trip to the Gulf Coast, President Obama addressed the nation Tuesday regarding the BP oil spill, now referred to as the worst environmental disaster in American history.

The President acknowledged that “for decades we’ve known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered,” and that as a nation, our unwillingness to turn away from oil-based energy directly contributed to the unsafe deepwater practices that caused the disaster in the Gulf.

During his speech, Obama referred to the oil spill crisis not as a natural disaster, which often comes and goes in a matter of hours, but as an “epidemic” that the country will be fighting for years to come.

The President also assured the fisherman, hotel owners, and the thousands of others that depend on the water for their livelihoods, that he is committed the Gulf Coast’s recovery, and that BP will pay in full for the environmental devastation it has caused.

To demonstrate his commitment to long-term restoration in the Gulf, the President announced that he has appointed former Mississippi governor and current Secretary to the Navy, Ray Mabus to oversee a new committee that will be responsible for developing a plan to clean-up and protect the area’s delicate marine ecosystems and wildlife.

But other than stating that this plan would be formulated cooperatively by states, communities, tribes, fishermen, and others, the President made no mention of particular restoration tactics that would be employed, or ecosystems that would be given priority.

While a commitment to restoration is important, a committment to ending offshore drilling once and for all is what’s really needed. Unfortunately, that was one promise the President wasn’t willing to make during Tuesday’s speech.

Instead Obama reiterated his six month moratorium on offshore drilling in deep water. He did not, however, mention the fact that he lifted ban on drilling in the Gulf’s shallow water just weeks ago, allowing oil companies to plan new wells just miles from the Louisiana shoreline.

Obviously, a temporary moratorium isn’t enough to worry the world’s major oil companies, but maybe a complete overhaul of the Minerals Management Service (MMS) will be.

As the government agency responsible for granting drilling permits, the MMS should have been working day and night to make sure that safety and the environmental impact of offshore drilling were thoroughly researched.

Instead, the MMS has become, as the President stated, “emblematic” of a failed philosophy which views all regulation in a hostile light. Under newly appointed head Michael Bromwich, however, Obama hopes that the agency will serve as “the oil industry’s watchdog, not it’s partner.”

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Image Credit: Flickr - Deepwaterhorizonresponse
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Caleb Critchfield.

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53 comments

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8:52AM PST on Feb 19, 2011

@Phoebe says :"I can't help but wonder why it took Pres. Obama so long to respond to this catastrphe in the first place."

You expected him to swim to the bottom of the gulf and plug the hole himself, eh?

11:40PM PDT on Jun 26, 2010

Judging from the poll, it looks as only half of America finds his commitments strong enough!
What he should have said of course, is that all off-shore drilling will be prohibited!
He still misjudges the disaster for what it is.
It is not the worst diaster in American history, but the worst disaster globally!

7:47PM PDT on Jun 22, 2010

I can't help but wonder why it took Pres. Obama so long to respond to this catastrphe in the first place.

5:21AM PDT on Jun 20, 2010

While it is nice that he stated that BP will pay for the disaster in full, I have to agree with others here and wait to see what really happens; I am inclined not to hold my breath. -.-

Any really, at the end of the day, what does it take to actually convince people THAT DRILLING NEEDS TO STOP? SERIOUSLY. If the worst disaster in American history is not enough to show how bad drilling is for everyone and everything, then I do not know what is. This is pathetic.

2:00AM PDT on Jun 19, 2010

Anything less than stopping oil drilling completely is a complete waste of time and I am sick of Obama and all the idiots thinking they are pacifying us. Stop blowing smoke up our fanny and do something that will actually matter. Do it now while there's still time and life on this planet.

11:23AM PDT on Jun 18, 2010

Let's wait and see.......................I see nothing...................I'm waiting.................I hope nature has the same patience............gone waiting........

7:30AM PDT on Jun 18, 2010

I dont know about you, but I stopped believeing this man a long time ago. Even when it comes to international affairs, he talks too much and does nothing.

3:40AM PDT on Jun 18, 2010

crap.I'm disgusted

4:08PM PDT on Jun 17, 2010

Wow; every time I hear the rage at BP; I want to laugh.
We have been dedicated to these "accidents" happening DAILY
for a hundred years now
WE love Speed, noise, smoke, dirty dead streets covered in oil and concrete WE worship the Gods of Daytona, the car,
and hundreds more habits that produce death.
Have a look in the mirror (me too).

9:56AM PDT on Jun 17, 2010

why is obama taking action now and not on the first 10 or 15 days i mean really why act now i i bet my cousin that it wont be until around day 80 before they accually takre action and fix it

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