Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama will visit the Gulf states affected by the oil spill on Monday and Tuesday and then address the nation on Tuesday night from the White House on the next steps in responding to the environmental catastrophe, his senior adviser said Sunday.
On his fourth visit to the Gulf region since the disaster began on April 20, Obama will make stops in Theodore, Alabama; Gulfport, Mississippi, and Pensacola, Florida, according to senior administration officials.
After returning from the two-day trip, Obama will make a televised statement from the Oval Office on the night before he is scheduled to meet with top BP officials.
David Axelrod, the senior adviser to Obama, said the president would push BP to create a BP-funded escrow account that will pay for damage claims from the worsening oil spill. In addition, Axelrod said, the plan would call for an independent third party to handle the claims process.
"The president will use every legal device at his disposal to make sure that this money is escrowed and that there is an independent administrator so that claims are not slow-walked, people can get the relief they need in a timely fashion and that we don't create more victims from this terrible disaster," Axelrod told reporters.
Asked if Obama had legal authority to force BP to create the escrow fund, Axelrod said: "The advice is that we have the authority to compel such an escrow fund if it comes to that."
Axelrod noted that BP had "legal responsibilities to its investors but they also have a moral and legal responsibility to the people in the Gulf, and they need to satisfy that."
Updated: 4:55 p.m.