Obama defends US’ response to oil slick disaster

President Barack Obama defended the US government response to the widening oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico.

Updated: May 03, 2010, 12:04 PM IST

Venice: President Barack Obama defended the US government response to the widening oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico amid rising criticism that federal action to the disaster has been sluggish.

Obama added that BP was responsible and must pay.

In remarks made on Sunday after surveying the scene of the slick that threatens to bring unparalleled devastation to the economy and the fragile ecosystem of the region, Obama said the oil spill "could jeopardise the livelihoods of thousands of Americans who call this place home”.

"That`s why the federal government has launched and coordinated an all hands on deck relentless response to this crisis from day one," he said.

The President outlined a series of measures taken by federal authorities in response to the disaster, including "an aggressive search and rescue effort to evacuate 115 people" immediately after last month`s oil rig explosion.

The US government has "made preparations from day one to stage equipment for a worst-case scenario," the President said.

"We have prepared and planned for the worst, even as we hoped for the best."

Among the measures taken, he said, was the creation of command centre operations coordinating state and local governments and the deployment in the Gulf waters of "more than 70 vessels and hundreds of thousands of feet of boom”.

PTI