President Barack Obama, left, picks up a "tar ball" as LaFourche Parish president Charlotte Randolph, center, and U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, National Incident Commander for the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, look on during a tour of areas impacted by the Gulf Coast oil spill, Friday, May 28, 2010 in Port Fourchon, La. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Dedicating new urgency to the Gulf oil spill, President Barack Obama accused BP of "recklessness" in the first Oval Office address of his presidency Tuesday night and swore not to rest until the company has paid for the damage it has caused to lives, businesses and shorelines.
"My heart goes out to the people of the Gulf that suffer most from this tragedy. Since our successful 2007 battle to block BP's Lake Michigan pollution plan, I have been no fan of BP's leadership. The President should waive the Jones Act to speed up the assistance of international ships and crews to clean up the mess. A pause in drilling is prudent to ensure new, effective safety equipment can quickly respond to ensure this never happens again. I do not think Congress should respond by raising taxes during this Great Recession. I will work in the House towards strong, bipartisan solutions to protect our environment and make America energy independent."
"The President’s speech tonight was a disappointing attempt to deflect attention from the federal government’s dismal response to the Gulf oil spill. A crisis is not something to take advantage of; it’s something to resolve. Yet tonight, the President pushed to ‘seize the moment’ and pursue costly cap-and-trade legislation that will cripple our economy and raise taxes on every American.
The ‘national mission’ the President called for should be stopping this leak. Unfortunately, the President’s defensive posture toward this whole incident is restraining our ability to get the leak fixed. Where the President sees a political opportunity to change the subject and talk about a radical energy tax, the American people see our nation’s worst environmental disaster lacking a clear direction toward resolution.”