Oil Spill: SWAT visits offshore installations; Obama says no new offshore drilling while accident investigated

By Phaedra Friend Troy

While placing responsibility on British oil major BP, US President Barack Obama pledged Thursday to help in the Gulf Coast oil spill clean-up efforts due to the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling rig accident.

Starting Friday, the US is planning on sending SWAT teams to the US Gulf of Mexico to inspect offshore production platforms and drilling rigs.

“The Department of Interior has announced that they will be sending SWAT teams to the Gulf to inspect all platforms and rigs,” said President Obama. “And I have ordered the Secretaries of Interior and Homeland Security as well as Administrator Lisa Jackson of the Environmental Protection Agency to visit the site on Friday to ensure that BP and the entire U.S. government is doing everything possible, not just to respond to this incident, but also to determine its cause.”

Friday’s Conclusion: Stop Offshore Drilling Until Cause Discovered

President Obama has now stated that the US will not offer any new offshore oil drilling leases until the cause of the accident aboard the Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible drilling rig has been discovered.

On April 20, Transocean's deepwater drilling semisubmersible Deepwater Horizon experienced a fire and explosion that left 11 personnel unaccounted for, sunk the drilling rig and caused a massive oil spill in the US Gulf of Mexico.

According to a report from the Associated Press, the US president said that safeguards must been put in place to prevent a similar disaster.

Per President Obama’s instruction, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will report within the next 30 days what new safety measures and technologies must be enacted to ensure that another oil spill does not occur due to deepwater drilling rigs.

"We are making sure any leases going forward have those safeguards," said the president at the White House Rose Garden Friday.

Meanwhile, oil spill response teams work on the US Gulf Coast to preserve wildlife and stave off the oil spill coming ashore.

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