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Obama vows to end cozy ties between govt, oil firms

Latest oil spill in Gulf clearly shows the system failed badly, said Obama.



Washington: An angry and frustrated President Barack Obama on Friday vowed to end the "cozy relationship" between the US government and the energy giants and called crude firms blame game over responsibility for the oil spill in the Gulf a "ridiculous spectacle".

"I understand that there are legal and financial issues involved, and a full investigation will tell us exactly what happened. But it is pretty clear that the system failed, and it failed badly.”

“And for that, there is enough responsibility to go around. And all parties should be willing to accept it," Obama said in his remarks before the press on the ongoing oil spill.

"That includes, by the way, the federal government. For too long, for a decade or more, there has been a cozy relationship between the oil companies and the federal agency that permits them to drill," Obama said.

"It seems as if permits were too often issued based on little more than assurances of safety from the oil companies. That cannot and will not happen anymore. To borrow an old phrase, we will trust but we will verify," he said.

Obama said he has asked his Interior Secretary Kent Salazar to conduct a top-to-bottom reform of the Minerals Management Service.

"This week, he announced that the part of the agency which permits oil and gas drilling and collects royalties will be separated from the part of the agency in charge of inspecting the safety of oil rigs and platforms and enforcing the law," he said.

"We have also ordered immediate inspections of all deepwater operations in the Gulf of Mexico. And we`ve announced that no permits for drilling new wells will go forward until the 30-day safety and environmental review that I requested is completed," he said.

"We`re also closing the loophole that has allowed some oil companies to bypass some critical environmental reviews, and today we`re announcing a new examination of the environmental procedures for oil and gas exploration and development," Obama said.

"This is a responsibility that all of us share -- the oil companies share it; the manufacturers of this equipment share it; the agencies in the federal government in charge of oversight share that responsibility.”

“I will not tolerate more finger pointing or irresponsibility," said the US President.

"The potential devastation to the Gulf Coast, its economy, and its people require us to continue our relentless efforts to stop the leak and contain the damage.”

“There`s already been a loss of life, damage to our coastline, to fish and wildlife, and to the livelihoods of everyone from fishermen to restaurant and hotel owners.”

“I saw firsthand the anger and frustration felt by our neighbours in the Gulf.”

“And let me tell you, it is an anger and frustration that I share as President," Obama said.

"I am not going to rest or be satisfied until the leak is stopped at the source, the oil in the Gulf is contained and cleaned up, and the people of the Gulf are able to go back to their lives and their livelihoods," Obama said.

PTI

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