Jun 01, 2010

Top Officials to Return to Gulf Coast

Trips by top leaders to inspect oil spill response total 28

At the direction of the president, Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator Jane Lubchenco will return to the Gulf region this week as they continue their work responding to the BP oil spill.

These officials' actions on the scene will be coordinated by National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, who is leading the administration-wide response and directing all inter-agency activities.

Jackson will make her fourth trip to the Gulf Coast to inspect coastline protection and cleanup activities and meet with community members to discuss ongoing efforts to mitigate the oil's impacts on public health and the environment. Jackson will spend a total of six days on the ground, visiting Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to review plans for cleanup of oil-impacted wetlands and marshes, analyze scientific monitoring of dispersant use and ensure that recovery and cleanup plans are proceeding quickly, according to the EPA.

Salazar will make his eighth trip to the area to meet with top BP officials, federal personnel and government scientists in Houston to get a firsthand account of the on-scene direction and oversight of BP's efforts to cap the leaking well. He will also participate in discussions with state, local and business leaders to discuss the ways the administration is supporting their communities during this catastrophe.

Lubchenco will make her third visit to the affected area to meet with top government and independent scientists and engineers who are working with BP and coordinating efforts across the federal government to ensure the best science is used to assess and mitigate the BP oil spill’s impacts to the environment.

President Obama visited the affected area to view the administration's all-hands-on-deck response to this unprecedented disaster. He spoke to the frustration felt by those in the local community and across America and discussed extensively what he saw touring the tragedy this morning. The president also commended those in the area who have “rolled up their sleeves” to help with the cleanup, saying that “we’re in this together.”

In total, senior administration officials have visited the region 28 times since BP's oil rig exploded on April 20.