British Petroleum (BP) will be on the hook for the tab to respond to an oil spill from one of its rigs, President Barack Obama said Sunday.
Following a tour of Louisiana and areas on the Gulf of Mexico afflicted by massive underwater leaks from oil pipelines, the president vowed to commit all the resources necessary to contain and clean up the environmental disaster.
"I think the American people are now aware -- certainly the folks down in the Gulf are aware -- that we are dealing with a massive and potentially unprecedented environmental disaster," Obama said in remarks following a tour of areas in Louisiana. "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 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 livelihoods."
The leak was a result of an explosion at an offshore drilling rig owned by BP last month, which sunk the drilling platform and sprung three leaks.
Obama said Sunday that it would still be days before the leaks might be contained, but that he expects BP to pick up its expenses for the clean-up, which may come on top of any environmental or civil penalties the company may face down the line as a result of the spill.
"Let me be clear: BP is responsible for this leak. BP will be paying the bill," Obama said. "But as president of the United States, I'm going to spare no effort to respond to this crisis for as long as it continues. And we will spare no resource to clean up whatever damage is caused."
"And while there will be time to fully investigate what happened on that rig and hold responsible parties accountable, our focus now is on a fully coordinated, relentless response effort to stop the leak and prevent more damage to the Gulf," he added.
Obama toured the areas with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), and met with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen, who was picked to coordinate response efforts, along with other officials during a tour of the area this afternoon.