As President Barack Obama has said, the United States Government response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is the largest response to an environmental disaster in U.S. history:
"From the beginning, we've mobilized on every front to contain and clean up the spill. I've authorized the deployment of 17,000 National Guard troops to aid in the response. More than 20,000 people are currently working around the clock to protect waters and coastlines. We've convened hundreds of top scientists and engineers from around the world. . . . More than 4.3 million feet of boom have been deployed with another 2.9 million feet of boom available – enough to stretch over 1,300 miles. And 17 staging areas are in place across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida to rapidly defend sensitive shorelines."
On April 20th, an explosion destroyed Deepwater Horizon, an oil drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico leased by BP. Eleven persons were killed and seventeen others were injured. After the rig sank, oil began leaking into the waters of the Gulf about 64 kilometers from the Louisiana coast.
The resulting oil slick threatens marine life, wildfowl, and many other species of plants and animals. It threatens the livelihood of fishermen and many other Americans on the Gulf Coast. Their lives, brutally disrupted by the spill, said President Obama, must be made whole again and those responsible for the disaster held accountable.
"We've also ordered BP to pay economic injury claims and we will make sure they pay every single dime owed to the people of the Gulf Coast. The Small Business Administration has stepped in to help businesses by approving loans and allowing deferrals of existing loan payments. . . and the federal government sent BP a preliminary bill for $69 million to pay back America taxpayers for some of the costs of the response so far. In addition, after the emergency safety review, we're putting in place aggressive new operating standards for offshore drilling. And I've appointed a bipartisan commission to look into the cause of this spill.
"If laws are inadequate," said President Obama, "laws will be changed. If oversight was lacking – it will be strengthened. And if laws were broken – those responsible will be brought to justice."