"If you're sitting in Barataria Bay, it's still a disaster. If the folks have not come back to the panhandle of Florida, it's still a disaster," former Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen told CNN's State of the Union. (Photo Credit: CNN)
(CNN) - The undersea gusher in the Gulf of Mexico has been brought under control, but the worst oil spill in U.S. history will continue to be felt along the Gulf Coast for some time, Obama administration officials said Sunday.
Washington (CNN) – As he reflects on lessons learned from dealing with the Gulf oil spill, the man charged with leading the federal response gave embattled energy giant BP a mixed grade Sunday.
Asked on CNN’s State of the Union to give BP a grade from “A” to “F,” retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen separately assessed different aspects of the company’s response to the blown out well.
“At the well head, I’m not sure there’s any oil company that could have done anything more than they did,” Allen told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. “The technology that was needed to be brought in for other parts of the world, was [brought in]. It took a long time to engineer it. It took a long time to install it. But, ultimately, it helped us put the cap on and control the well. So I give them fairly good marks there.”
But Allen quickly added that where the energy giant’s performance has been lacking is in having a human touch.
Obama poses with a local resident during his trip to the Gulfport, Mississippi. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Theodore, Alabama (CNN) - President Barack Obama used a lemon-lime snow cone to show that parts of the Gulf Coast remain unaffected by the oil spill –and that he's fully engaged in the ongoing crisis on a day and a half visit to the region.
At his first stop in Gulfport, Mississippi, the president was briefed by Admiral Thad Allen and other officials on the latest effort to cap and contain the oil. And the president said that many locations are still open for tourism and unaffected by the spill.
"We just want to make sure that people who have travel plans down to the Gulf area remain mindful of that, because if people want to know what can they do to help folks down here, one of the best ways to help is to come down here and enjoy the outstanding hospitality," the president said.
(CNN) - The government's point man overseeing the Gulf oil disaster response told CNN Friday that a more accurate estimate over how much oil is flowing could come over the next few days.
"I would expect this estimate could evolve over the next four or five days, as we know more about what's going on with the pressure readings that we're going to be taking," Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "We're going to put some actual sensors down there and get some pressure readings over the next couple of days."
Researchers recently doubled estimates of how much oil has been flowing from the ruptured well, saying Thursday that up to 40,000 barrels - or 1.7 million gallons - a day may have leaked for weeks.
Sensors, Allen said, will soon be placed at the pipe and will help in estimating the flow rate.
Washington (CNN) - National Incident Commander Adm. Thad Allen sent a letter Thursday to BP Board Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg asking that he "and any appropriate officials from BP," meet June 16 with senior administration officials, including President Barack Obama.
Read Allen's letter to BP here [pdf].
UPDATE: A senior administration official confirms the BP meeting will take place next Wednesday at the White House.
While the letter doesn’t specifically mention controversial BP CEO Tony Hayward by name, the administration official said “the letter asks the Chairman to bring any appropriate [BP] officials to the meeting and we assume that includes the CEO.”
Haward is scheduled to testify before Congress the following day.
– CNN White House Correspondent Dan Lothian contributed to this report
It depends on what the definition of “very pleased” is:
Using his newly honed “dial it back” technique, Admiral Thad Allen did a field edit on BP’s statement that it was “very pleased” with its containment lid operation. Allen suggested progress was one thing, but he didn’t think anyone should be pleased as long as there’s oil in the water, which, just guessing, may be a while.
Allen is clearly in all-military mode now, calling the oil an “insidious enemy…holding the Gulf hostage.”
Blame the Media:
Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D) does and so does Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R)
Seems there is a pre-disaster disaster afoot in Florida and Mississippi. As Nelson put it, “the bad part is, people think there’s oil there,” so they are cancelling vacation plans and not eating the fish. “The biggest negative impact for us“ Barbour says, “has been the news coverage…the average viewer…thinks the whole coast from Florida to Texas is ankle deep in oil.”
For the record, SOTU showed pictures of healthy Gulf birds in the close, just sayin’.
In 25 seconds or less
And finally, a tip of the hat to Gov. Barbour who renewed our belief that he remains one of the best politicians in the country. Who else, asked to assess how the administration is handling the oil crisis, could both rise above it and jump right in? For your listening pleasure:
"I don't think anyone should be pleased so long as there's oil in the water," Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Sunday on CNN. (Photo Credit: CNN)
(CNN) - The federal government's response manager to the Gulf oil disaster says BP has made progress, but cautioned it was too early to call the effort a success.
"We're making the right progress. I don't think anyone should be pleased as long as there's oil in the water," Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday.
Allen was responding to remarks over the weekend by BP's senior vice president, Bob Fryar, who said the company was "pleased" with its operation to funnel crude up from the ruptured undersea well to a drilling ship a mile above on the Gulf of Mexico.
Fryar said the company funneled about 250,000 gallons of oil on Friday from a containment cap installed on the well to a drilling ship on the ocean surface.
On Saturday, BP had increased the amount of oil it was funneling to about 441,000 gallons to the surface. Federal authorities estimate that 798,000 gallons of crude are gushing into the sea every day.
Allen confirmed that BP has been able to bring oil to the surface after placing the cap, but said no one should be pleased until a relief well is completed and the leaking stops.
"This is an insidious enemy," Allen said. "It's attacking all of our shores, it's holding the gulf hostage, basically."
Updated: 4:11 p.m.