GRAND ISLE, La. (AP) — Intent on showing firm command of a deepening Gulf Coast crisis, President Barack Obama inspected a fouled beach, took in what he called “heartbreaking stories” of the catastrophe and declared “we’re going to keep at it” until the America’s largest-ever oil spill is stopped and cleaned up.
“It’s an assault on our shores, on our people, on the regional economy and on communities like this one,” said Obama, from this small barrier island town south of New Orleans that is threatened by the massive oil leak. “People are watching their livelihoods wash up on the beach.”
With more than 20,000 people already in the region working to contain and clean up the still-gushing crude, Obama announced he was tripling the manpower in places where oil has washed ashore or is about to.
“This is our highest priority and it deserves a response that is equal to the task,” he said at a shoreside podium in front of a stretch of sparkling blue, unmarred water. Before he spoke, dolphins and fish could be seen gliding through the water and seabirds frequently fluttered past.