President Barack Obama has made a sweeping statement on the spill, saying it will be “sensible” to Congress to enact a clean-up of the massive oil spill that killed 17 people and damaged at least 8,000 homes in the Gulf of Mexico.
“I know that if I were president of the United States, we would do what we can to help protect the American people, but we know that there’s not enough time to be perfect,” Obama said in a statement.
“It’s also important to acknowledge that we have the power to make progress on climate change and we have every right to do so.”
Obama’s announcement came after days of hearings in Congress that have focused on the impact of the spill and the ongoing federal response.
The president said he was optimistic about the spill’s response and urged Congress to provide the $30 billion in federal funds needed to ensure that the federal government does not repeat the mistakes of the past.
“It’s not easy to deal with these types of incidents, but I know that we’ve been working hard to make sure that the spill is addressed, that we do our part to make it safe for the American public,” he said.
“This is a moment of great national and local pride.
We have the means and the courage to continue to make a difference.
And I know there are others who will not be satisfied until they have worked together to help us address the problems caused by the spill.”
The president also called for the Federal Aviation Administration to expand its oversight of the oil spill.
“The FAA should extend its review to include other spill-related incidents,” he added.
“We also need the FAA to investigate all instances of oil leaks and take appropriate action.”
At least four oil companies, including BP and Chevron, have agreed to pay more than $1 billion to settle lawsuits over the spill.
The settlement, announced by the Justice Department, was a $50 billion agreement with BP and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates oil and gas operations in the United State.
It also includes more than 2,000 oil and natural gas leases in the affected area.
Oil companies have been required to provide data and environmental reviews to the EPA since September of last year, when the agency received reports of oil in the gulf.
The companies have since cooperated with the EPA to provide such data and reviews, and the EPA has launched an investigation.
Obama has made it clear that the EPA is not the only agency with authority to investigate oil spills.
The president also ordered that oil industry workers and contractors be trained on how to safely handle spills.
“In an era when so much is at stake, it’s important for our government to provide our employees and contractors with the tools to protect our nation,” Obama wrote in the statement.
On Tuesday, the president and the president of BP, Cameron Ivey, visited the scene of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to offer condolences to the families of the dead and survivors.
BP is under investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice over its handling of the incident.