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Today I am travelling to Louisiana with President Obama to review the efforts currently underway to respond to the massive oil spill and to lend support to the region. The Administration's efforts have been relentless from Day 1, and I know the President is eager to return to the region to check up on the progress and meet with those most directly affected by this tragedy.
Yesterday, the President briefed the press and the American people on this disaster. You can watch the video of his press conference here:
To give you a sense of where we are today: We have about 20,000 people in the region who are working around the clock to contain and clean up this oil, approximately 1,300 vessels are responding on site, over 11 million gallons of oil-water mix have been recovered, and over 3 million feet of boom have been deployed to the Gulf region.
Earlier this week, the Federal Government gave BP the approval to attempt a "top kill" procedure – plugging the well with densely packed mud to prevent oil from escaping. It's too soon to tell whether this approach will be successful at reducing or eliminating the flow of oil, so we are exploring every reasonable strategy to try to stop this leak before the relief wells are finished.
For people living in the Gulf Coast region, for Americans across the country, and for the Obama Administration, the only thing that really matters is stopping the leak, cleaning up the mess, and restoring the Gulf Coast's environment and the livelihoods of the people who live there. We will not rest until we've done just that.
Those who are responsible will be held accountable. That includes not only the obligations BP and other responsible parties have, but also the commitment we have, as public servants, to build an effective framework for regulation that protects the American people and guards this country's natural splendor.
In case you don't have time to watch the video from yesterday's press conference, I want to reiterate a key point the President made, because while stopping the leak remains priority #1 at the White House, it's also important to recognize the need for longer-term solutions. He said:
Here are two important resources to keep track of the situation:
The first is the website of the coalition of groups, led by the National Incident Commander for the BP oil spill, Admiral Thad Allen of the Coast Guard. It has a number of links to assistance for those affected by the spill and many other resources:
In order to keep the Nation aware of everything its government is doing in response to the spill, the White House has also created a web page that includes a daily report of the ongoing Administration-wide response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill:
As the President also said, we are going to make sure this leak is stopped -- but our work doesn't end there. This Administration will use everything in its power to protect the safety and livelihoods of our fellow Americans in the Gulf Coast.