Obama vows to help communities hurt by oil spill
Houston: US President Barack Obama on Saturday vowed to fight alongside communities hurt by the oil spill in Gulf of Mexico until the crisis and its aftermath have been resolved, even as BP continues with lower marine riser package (LMRP) oil spill solution to plug the leak.
In his weekly radio address from Grand Isle, Louisiana, a community hit worst by the spill, Obama pledged ongoing attention to the disaster.
"So we will continue to leverage every resource at our disposal to protect coastlines, to clean up the oil, to hold BP and other companies accountable for damages," he said.
Obama, who was in Louisiana on Saturday for his third trip to the region since the spill began, also promised to do all he could "to begin to restore the bounty and beauty of this region -- and to aid the hardworking people of the Gulf as they rebuild their businesses and communities".
As Obama promised assistance, oil spill-stricken Gulf of Mexico residents anxiously awaited news about BP's latest effort to contain the massive leak, now the worst environmental disaster in US history.
According to BP, it is expected to take one or more days for flow rates of oil and gas to stabilise and it is not possible at this stage to estimate how much oil and gas will be captured by this oil spill containment system.
This particular oil spill solution has never been tried before in depths of 5,000 below water and so therefore, there is no assurance that this will work.
The beleaguered company hopes this latest effort -- after a string of repeated failures -- will result in the majority of the still-gushing oil being siphoned to tanker ships on the surface within several days.
A containment device placed over a leaking well-pipe captured 6,000 barrels of crude in the first 24-hour cycle and the amount contained will "hopefully" increase soon, said retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the official overseeing the response to the oil spill.
In his recent comments, BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said the containment cap should capture some 90 percent of the gushing oil.
As the first tar balls from the massive oil plume began reaching shore along the Florida panhandle, the disaster continued to wash over BP from different fronts.
Standard and Poor's joined other rating agencies that earlier this week downgraded BP debt, while protesters in some US cities have started to take out their frustration by vandalising BP gas stations.