President Obama Returns to Gulf as BP Spill Widens

President travels to Louisiana, oil spill travels to Florida

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Fresh off a "Larry King Live" appearance (see below) in which he said "BP has to shut down this well," a "furious" President Obama flew to Louisiana today to meet with regional officials and beleaguered local residents as new events unfolded in the BP oil spill saga. The president hooked BP with fresh barbs, criticizing a $50 million TV ad campaign designed to salvage the company’s image when what truly needs salvaging are the oil-soaked beaches, wetlands, wildlife, and businesses of Gulf Coast states.

President Obama’s third visit to the Gulf since the spill’s start transpired as tar balls began peppering Florida’s sandy beaches, just hours after BP installed a "top cap," the company’s latest attempt to contain the hemorrhaging well.

BP officials said the cap should eventually be able to capture as much as 90 percent of the flowing oil, but frankly, their words inspire about as much confidence as a three-legged race horse. Particularly since the company has had nearly as much trouble containing the flow of clumsy and insensitive comments from its loose-lipped CEO, Tony Hayward, as it has arresting the oil gusher it created.

Let’s hope that the latest attempts bring some success and that the Obama administration will direct all the necessary resources to cleaning up this spill and helping out the Gulf residents who have been impacted. Meanwhile, Earthjustice attorneys are working hard to ensure that the lax oversight and cozy relationships between industry and government that precipitated this mess become a thing of the past. A clean energy future is waiting for us on the other side of this oil spill, and I, for one, am looking forward to getting there.

Sam Edmondson was a campaign manager on air toxics issues from 2010 until 2012. He helped organize the first 50 States United for Healthy Air event. His desire to work at an environmental organization came from the belief that if we don't do something to change our unsustainable ways, we are in big trouble.