In his Oval Office speech, President Barack Obama pledged to “fight this spill with everything we’ve got” and outlined his plans to contain the oil, assist coastal states (on BP’s dime) and prevent future spills. He also offered this grim assessment (full transcript):
Already, this oil spill is the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced. And unlike an earthquake or a hurricane, it is not a single event that does its damage in a matter of minutes or days. The millions of gallons of oil that have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico are more like an epidemic, one that we will be fighting for months and even years.
Obama mentioned few specifics ending America’s fossil fuel addiction but said the time to tackle it is now.
Today, he meets with BP executives. The company had a “rebuttal” for his speech.
+ Meanwhile, Gov. Charlie Crist announced another “free fishing weekend” for Father’s Day after walking on Pensacola beaches with the president.
+ Local governments are still waiting on reimbursements for their efforts to protect the coastline.
+ Oil executives testified before Congress, and several issued knocks against BP.
+ Crowds packed an oil spill forum at St. Petersburg College.
+ A witness to the original Deepwater Horizon blowout brought new allegations against BP.
On the inside: A glimpse at BP’s Houston crisis center.
Faster than we thought: The estimated rate of oil gushing has been revised upward, again, to as high as 60,000 barrels a day. BP has announced plans to ramp up its oil collection to as much as 50,000 barrels per day.
Photo of the day: Oil waves.