Salazar, Napolitano heading back to Gulf

The Obama administration announced Monday evening that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and other officials will return to the Gulf Coast this week to address the major oil spill that threatens fragile coastlines and fisheries.

The decision follows earlier visits by Salazar, Napolitano and other administration officials,  and President Obama’s own tour Sunday.

The administration is seeking to show that it is aggressively engaged in responding to the spill that began after a rig leased to BP exploded on April 20, damaging an undersea well that continues to spew oil.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Jane Lubchenco, who heads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, are also heading to the region this week, the administration announced Monday.

“Specific details on their travel will come from their departments and agencies, but collectively they will be inspecting the ongoing, coordinated response efforts to mitigate the impact of the spill on public health, the environment and the economy. They will meet with business owners to discuss potential economic impacts of this spill across the Gulf Coast region,” states the Monday announcement from the multi-agency Joint Information Center.

Also, Salazar, Napolitano and other officials met Monday with BP CEO Tony Hayward and BP America Chairman and President Lamar McKay at Interior headquarters to “discuss ongoing, coordinated response efforts and receive an update on BP’s mitigation plans for potentially impacted Gulf Coast states,” according to the administration update.

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