Twenty-five days into the Gulf Coast oil spill saga, President Obama criticized executives for being too busy playing the blame game. He promised stricter rules for companies in the future.
With the spill still not under control, Obama announced Friday that he will end the "cozy relationship" between federal regulators and companies drilling offshore for oil and gas by making the permit process tougher.
"It seems permits were too often issued based on little than assurances of safety by the oil companies," Obama said. "That cannot and will continue anymore."
The Coast Guard estimates 5,000 barrels a day continues to leak into the Gulf of Mexcio. But some experts believe it could be as much as 50,000 barrels a day. If accurate, that's equal to one Exxon Valdez spill every five days into the Gulf.
The president also bashed the companies involved for their conduct at a congressional hearing this week.
"I know that BP is committed to the response effort, and we will hold them to their obligation," he said. "I have to say, though, I did not appreciate what I considered to be a ridiculous spectacle during the congressional hearings into this matter."
"Yet executives of BP, Transocean and Halliburton are falling over each other to point the finger of blame at somebody else," he continued. "The American people could not have been impressed with that display and I certainly wasn't."
Footing the Bill
American taxpayers may end up bearing some of the financial burden for the massive oil spill in the Gulf Coast.
The White House wants to make British Petroleum pay all costs for the clean up. However, the administration has also asked Congress to approve $10 million for litigation costs that the Justice Department may not be able to recover from the international company.
The oil slick has already impacted the livelihoods of fishermen along the Gulf Coast.
Louisiana's Department of Social Services has issued an emergency rule to allow them to apply for food stamps.
"I would encourage people to not be ashamed, these resources are here for us to use," said Suzy Sonnier, deputy secretary with the Department of Social Services. "You can apply
online, over the phone, you don't even have to come into our offices at all."
BP is still scrambling to plug the spill. It has at least seven repair schemes in the works and administration officials are hopeful about their chances.
Meanwhile, undersea robots are being positioned in another attempt to plug the leak.
Calm seas are expected in the days ahead which should keep the slick from reaching the coastline over the weekend.