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Gulf oil spill: Officials warn BP to work harder

Jindal Government officials sent BP a tough message at the Friday briefing: Work harder to end the oil spill that threatens the Gulf of Mexico.

There was no "or else." Officials have repeatedly promised that the company will have to pay for the cleanup that is running at some $7 million a day  and will likely costs billions by the time it is over.

“These next few days are critical,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said at an afternoon news conference, attended by top U.S. Cabinet secretaries who had toured the region by air. “Our focus is to mitigate the damage on the coast,” Jindal said. He warned there would time later on to assess blame and eventually liability for the spill.

“I am confident we will get to the bottom of what happened here,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said. “Those responsible will be held accountable.”

Even as officials pressed BP to do more, the company insisted it was doing all it could.

“We welcome of every new idea and every new resource,” said BP chief operating officer Doug Suttles, who also attended the news conference. He said the company was having a hard time because of tough weather that hindered efforts.

The company has been using skimming, booms and will soon try underwater dispersants, all in the hope of minimize the damage from the spill and the flowing slick. The company is drilling a relief well designed to decrease the pressure and lessen the spill. About 2,000 people and 75 vessels are fighting the leaks.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called BP the responsible party, a theme the federal government and President Obama has sounded in recent days. “It is time for BP to supplement their current mobilization,” she said.

There are also questions about whether the blowout preventers, the mechanism on the well, functioned as planned. The devices are supposed to stop leaks and spills such as the one heading across the Gulf.

Officials said that would be examined in their investigation of events.

--Michael Muskal

Related:
Oil from rig explosion hits Louisiana coast
Photos: Oil spill spreads in the Gulf of Mexico
Efforts to fight Gulf of Mexico oil spill are ramped up
Interactive: Burning spilled oil

Twitter.com/LATimesmuskal

 
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This emerging national tragedy serves as a wakeup call to each of us that without strong supervision and accountability accidents and spills will spoil and perhaps destroy the Gulf of Mexico's pristine resources. The seafood industry, tourism, and beauty of the area must not permit poorly supervised deep water drilling. The nation can ill afford another of these massive spills. If there is to be drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, it must be strictly supervised and monitored by all entities concerned with the process or we will lose an aquatic gem which can never be replaced.

Dr. Alan Phillips


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