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Gulf oil spill: President Obama arrives in Louisiana [Updated]

May 2, 2010 | 12:04 pm

Obama and Jindal President Obama arrived in New Orleans Sunday to observe first hand-hand the damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil rig accident as critics faulted efforts by the federal government and oil company BP PLC to contain the growing spill early on.

Obama was greeted by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal at Louis Armstrong International Airport as he proceeded toward the coastal region. Moving to blunt questions about the response to the spill, the White House also dispatched Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to Sunday television talk shows.

Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Napolitano said the government was taking an "all-hands-on-deck" approach to the rupture of BP's oil well.

The Coast Guard and BP have said it's nearly impossible to know exactly how much oil has gushed since the blast, though the value has been estimated at at least 200,000 gallons a day, a rate that would make this spill exceed the 1989 Exxon Valdez incident as the worst U.S. oil disaster in history.

[Updated, 12:24 p.m.: Just prior to the president's visit, Jindal issued a release questioning whether BP had sufficient resources to respond to the crisis and declaring that Louisiana officials were moving ahead with their own contingency plans to handle the spill. "We are past the point of waiting," the statement said.]

-- Associated Press

Photo: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, left, with President Obama at Louisiana's Armstrong airport on May 2, 2010. Credit: Patrick Semansky / Associated Press