May 3rd, 2010
12:16 PM ET
12 years ago

Oil spill could sap appetite for Obama's offshore drilling plans


The Obama administration is assisting efforts to combat the massive oil spill threatening the Gulf Coast. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

(CNN) - A month after announcing plans to expand offshore drilling, President Obama visited ground zero of the Gulf Coast oil disaster and warned that residents could be facing a "potentially unprecedented environmental disaster."

"The oil that is still leaking from the well could seriously damage the economy and the environment of our Gulf states and it could extend for a long time. It could jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of Americans who call this place home," Obama said Sunday in Venice, Louisiana.

The president reiterated that oil company BP is responsible for the leak and will foot the cost of the cleanup. He pledged to "spare no effort to respond to this crisis for as long as it continues."

Obama's remarks were a stark contrast from his late March proposal to open swaths of U.S. coastal waters in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico to oil and natural gas drilling.

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Filed under: Energy • Louisiana • Obama administration • President Obama
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Mayday

    When are they going to stop that leak?? They should be working on that day and night. Obama needs to get on BP and every other oil service company in the country to get this leak containted yesterday.

    May 3, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  2. Randy, San Francisco

    I can still picture the videos of Republican politicians leading the oil company chant, "Drill Baby Drill."

    May 3, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  3. Paul from Phoenix

    Of course. With gas going over $3 per gallon, lets continue to hamstring ourselves into being dependant on foreign oil.

    May 3, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. Dano

    President Obama's stand on offshore drilling was misguided and one of the few decisions he's made that I disagreed with. Maybe the president – and the nation – will now wake up and realize that we must develope alternate energy sources rather than continue on the same path we've been on for over 60 years. So much for the "Drill, baby, Drill" people's arguments about how safe extracting oil ffom the Gulf has become. This spill will be more costly to clean up and will cause more ecological destruction than the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. It's been over 20 years since that disaster and they still haven't got the oil cleaned up yet. Florida fishermen and Louisianna shrimpers, you may as well say goodye to your livelihoods for the rest of your lifetimes unless Americans develope a taste for brown, pertoleum flavored seafood!

    May 3, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  5. Nat

    Let's see – Obama "supports" off shore drilling to appease the cash-wads who donated millions to his campaign, then an "accident" creates a huge oil spill in the Gulf so Obama can turn against off-shore drilling and appease his lib-left-enviro base. Conspiracy-theories anyone?!

    May 3, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  6. Jeff Spangler

    The relevant doctrine in the law of torts is "assumption of the risk". A Nation and Citizens who choose to live with the benefits of petrochemicals assumes the well-known risk that extracting, refining and delivering these substances presents a possibility, indeed a likelihood, that Exxon Valdez and the BP Gulf Gusher will occur. Drunken tanker captains like Exxon Shipping's Joe Hazelwood don't help matters, but we all drive the flow of oil and occasional spill. Deal with it.

    May 3, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. geoff

    Oil on land is one thing – if something breaks, you walk up and fix it.

    Oil from more difficult sources merits much more consideration on "what-if" - including whether the safety of the operation is worth the price when compared to alternative forms of energy. Exxon Valdiz and BP/Louisiana have taught us sobering lessons... things we should consider before "drill-baby-drill."

    Now we have the natural gas issues in New York and Pennsylvania: they say it's safe... but they need an awful lot of water and have an awful lot of waste. But it produces jobs, heats homes, is an American resource. Yet, what happens if something goes terribly wrong? The water supply for millions of people is at risk. Is it really worth it?

    This is a good lesson in "take a step back and think twice" before enthusiastically punching holes in the ground to feed our SUVs and make our disposable plastic goodies.

    May 3, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    I think this administration has handled it badly in order to create a backlash against off shore drilling.

    May 3, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. Beth

    The benefits clearly do not outweigh the risks.

    May 3, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. ac

    It was about time for the President to show up. His visit is very important because it confirm his interest on the problem at hand and it is not question that this is a very, very big problem.

    May 3, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  11. j

    Face it. Now isn`t the time to push for anything but clean , renewable energy.--– Sadly, OIL is a dirty word right now.---

    May 3, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  12. Saul- Virginia

    THe president is not the one that holds all the tools and technology, it the oil compannies. May be the president should just dive down the ocean and shut the well off magically.
    The response to oil spills were designed by previous administrations with the influence from the oil industry to be shouldered by the oil industry. Proponents of small government got what they wanted and now are crying fowl. WHO NEEDS GOVERNMENT!
    THis just shows that government should in fact be involved and regulate these industries, because we just end up assigning blame to our government. The mess was caused by BP and they must clean it up.

    May 3, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. Honcho

    Hold on there. I don't care how may birds, fish and other sea life are killed off or who is put out of business as long as I retain the right to drive my sport utility vehicle, and my wife can drive her oversize monster truck, to the 7/11 to buy beer and beef jerky whenever I want and how many times I want. Let's get back to the "founding principles" of the Constitution where my rights are protected and are of more importance than your rights because I was here first. I see no mention of obligations and responsibilities of citizenship in the Constitution or anything about the "common good". That's just Commie talk.. Now get out of my way, I'm late for a "Patriots for Petroleum" meeting.

    May 3, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  14. Joe

    The primary lesson from the Exxon Valdez disaster almost exactly 21 years ago is that oil compaines will lie, lie, lie, and lie some more about what they will do to prevent and contain oil spills. Obviously, once again, the oil companies were not ready for something like this. Drilling is fine as long as the oil companies are held to the highest standard in prevention and containment. Unfortunately the oil companies have bought off most of the state legislators and congressions reps to keep from being held accountable. That has to change. NOW.

    May 3, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |

    One person who we haven't heard from during this oil flow problem is Half Gov. Sarah "Pay Me" Palin. Hey Sarah, How's that whole Drill Baby Drill thingy workin' for ya?

    May 3, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. Dan

    Every other country in the world has stronger regulations on offshore wells than the US.

    It's time to force oil companies to put in the same safety measures and backup systems that are required elsewhere.

    If BP had been required to meet the same measures required elsewhere, the spill would already be stopped. Instead millions of Americans will be effected for months.

    May 3, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  17. tom

    Drill Baby Drill, Clean Coal – all a bunch of lies created by the corporates who "donate" their interests to power. The whole political system is the problem – how can it be that the candidate who "raises" the most money is able to make it to the finish line and then "bites the hands that fed him"? There should be fund for each candidate paid by taxpayers money – limited and accounted for – all have the same amount to campaign with....but that's against "freedom of speech" or the "2nd amendement" I guess....actually democracy looks differently than this "donated – poster boy fiction of a democrazy" that wer are so eager to spread ariound the world. Go on and act like democrats – go and create a 3rd or 4th party to give the registered voter a real alternative – wait, that's not working – there is no "raised" money to do so.....

    May 3, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. Marry

    @ Dano,
    Well said!!! But I am sure, the "Tide" is going against off shore drilling. The president is a reasonable man and since INTELLIGENCE is one of his many trades, he will find the support to go with “green” modern energy!

    May 3, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. Glennis

    As any sane person knows, our need for oil involves far more than fueling suvs and pickup trucks. Even working non-stop, day and night to devise and implement other energy sources it will take years before we could safely wean ourselves from oil. We should by all means continue to explore every potential alternative, but the bottom line is that those alternatives will simply be part of a mix that includes oil. I don't want to see drilling stopped forever. We do, however, need to ensure that we have the tools to allow safe drilling. There will be painful lessons learned from this experience. But firsts of all, the government and all parties involved with the operation need to step it up and get this leak stopped. As I understand it, there are three leaks, which makes it even harder to contain. I have somewhat of a problem with BP who apparently said beforehand that they had plans for any worse case scenario and now say they do not. More peculiar is the fact that all safeguards failed. That remains a question that needs an answer.

    May 3, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  20. Glenn Koons

    Look, many Americans know that the leftist socialist pacifists who are the Dem Party and their faux CIC hate Big Oil and any, any domestic energy producers like gas, coal and safe building of nuclear plants. They hate the military so why have oil to run it. Let them eat Green!!! LOL Obama blames BP and that is correct; it is the reaction time of EPA once more that is now questionable. We shall see if EPA sends their amazing cleanup ship to the Gulf. If this stops the liberals from using our domestic energy resources, they are a bunch of wussies who are in the tank for OPEC and the Islamofascist ME states who Obama just adores.

    May 3, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |

    Obama apparently wants to save his appetite and energy for Vera Baker...!

    May 3, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  22. We were there....

    Obama, let me be clear about it we were there from day one doing nothing.....only when help was requested form the State of Louisiana did the Obama administration move, before that they all read from the same page BP is responsible...."true" but so was Washington responsible to react right away....and did not................................!!!

    May 3, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  23. John in Brooklyn

    This could actually turn out to be a double win for Obama:

    1) He can appear centrist in advocating additional offshore drilling


    2) Hammering BP and holding up this disaster as a tangible example of why environmentalists correctly oppose offshore drilling.

    May 3, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  24. A True Centrist

    "I can still picture the videos of Republican politicians leading the oil company chant, "Drill Baby Drill.""

    Yes Randy, I can remember that too...along with President Obama and Vice President Biden saying the same thing about a month ago (see, we don't all have selective memories). Let's be honest, this administration's inability to quickly and effectively respond to the oil spill is about as bad as the Bush's inability to quickly and effectively respond to Katrina.

    And why these failures...because of the American people's inability to vote someone into office who can actually lead. A Manchurian candidate isn't going to cut it when real solutions are needed for real problems.

    May 3, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  25. normajean

    To those who don't read or listen to what is going on, I'd say that our president was on this problem the minute he was informed.. He connected with the people that needed to be called and had work on it started immediatly. You wouldn't sound so stupid if you read the papers,listened to the news and learn before mouthing off. As to the drilling, not everyone thinks "Drill,Baby Drill" was the answer but this all started long before this administration and probably might not go on .It does mean,however,that we need to really look for alternatives which is being done.

    May 3, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
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