Fresh off a night of self-deprecating humor and media mockery at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, President Barack Obama spent the day touring areas in the Gulf of Mexico near the Mississippi Delta where oil from BP's massive oil spill is expected to have its most severe impact.
Meeting with U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindall and a host of local parish presidents and fishermen, President Obama outlined the swift action taken by the U.S. Government and said that while BP was responsible for paying for the clean-up, any and all federal resources would be made available to try and ward off an ecological and economic disaster. Watch video of President Obama's remarks (full transcript below video):
Full text of President Obama's remarks given at Venice, La. on May 2, 2010:
They gave me a sense of how this spill is moving. It is now about nine miles off the coast of southeastern Louisiana. And by the way, we had the Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, as well as parish presidents who were taking part in this meeting, because we want to emphasize the importance of coordinating between local, state, and federal officials throughout this process.
Now, I think the American people are now aware, certainly the folks down in the Gulf are aware, that we're dealing with a massive and 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.
And that's why the federal government has launched and coordinated an all-hands-on-deck, relentless response to this crisis from day one. After the explosion on the drilling rig, it began with an aggressive search-and-rescue effort to evacuate 115 people, including three badly injured. And my thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the 11 workers who have not yet -- who have not been found.
When the drill unit sank on Thursday, we immediately and intensely investigated by remotely operated vehicles the entire 5,000 feet of pipe that's on the floor of the ocean. In that process, three leaks were identified, the most recent coming just last Wednesday evening. As Admiral Allen and Secretary Napolitano have made clear, we've made preparations from day one to stage equipment for a worse-case scenario. We immediately set up command center operations here in the Gulf and coordinated with all state and local governments. And the third breach was discovered on Wednesday.
We already had by that time in position more than 70 vessels and hundreds of thousands of feet of boom. And I dispatched the Secretaries of the Interior and Homeland Security; the Administrator of the EPA, Lisa Jackson, who is here; my Assistant for Energy and Climate Change Policy; and the Administrator of NOAA to the Gulf Coast to ensure that we are doing whatever is required to respond to this event.
So I want to emphasize, from day one we have prepared and planned for the worst, even as we hoped for the best. And while we have prepared and reacted aggressively, I'm not going to rest -- and none of the gentlemen and women who are here are going to rest -- or be satisfied until the leak is stopped at the source, the oil on the Gulf is contained and cleaned up, and the people of this region are able to go back to their lives and their livelihoods.
Currently, the most advanced technology available is being used to try and stop a leak that is more than 5,000 feet under the surface. Because this leak is unique and unprecedented, it could take many days to stop. That's why we're also using every resource available to stop the oil from coming ashore and mitigating the damage it could cause. And much of the discussion here at the center was focused on if we, and when we have to deal with these mitigation efforts.