Obama Vows to Fight Oil Spill
    2010-06-16 08:34:24     Xinhua      Web Editor: Zhang Xu

President Barack Obama is photographed while delivering a televised address from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday June 15, 2010. President Obama said the nation will continue to fight the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico for 'as long as it takes.' [Photo: Xinhua/Reuters]

by Wang Fengfeng, Ren Haijun

U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday evening the government will fight the oil spill in Gulf of Mexico "with everything we've got for as long it takes," and used the tragedy to make the case for the nation to embrace clean energy.

In his first oval office address to the nation, Obama said he will do whatever's necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from the oil spill, already the worst environmental disaster the United States has ever faced.

He recounted efforts made by the government to stop the oil leak in the sunken Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, operated by British oil giant BP before a huge explosion ripped it apart on April 20.

Obama said BP was directed to mobilize additional equipment and technology to stop the leak, and will be able to "capture up to 90 percent of the oil leaking out of the well" in the coming days and weeks, until the company finishes drilling a relief well later in the summer that is expected to stop the leak completely.

U.S. scientists on Tuesday significantly increased estimate of how much oil is spilling into the Gulf, saying the most likely flow rate of oil ranges from 35,000 to 60,000 barrels per day, a jump from last week's estimate of 20,000 to 40,000 barrels per day.

Just returned from a two-day tour to the Gulf Coast, Obama said unlike an earthquake or a hurricane, the oil spill is not a single event that does its damage in a matter of minutes or days.

"The millions of gallons of oil that have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico are more like an epidemic, one that we will be fighting for months and even years," said he.

He then proceeded to lay out the plan forward, which includes how to clean up the oil, how to help coastal states affected by the spill, and how to make sure a similar catastrophe never happens again.

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