Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Obama Pledges Tough Inquiry Into Oil Spill

WASHINGTON — President Obama vowed Tuesday to pursue criminal inquiries into the cause of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, as the crisis he called “the greatest environmental disaster of its kind in our history” threatened to engulf his second year in office.

“We have an obligation to determine what went wrong,” Mr. Obama said, appearing in the Rose Garden after meeting with the two men he has appointed to lead an inquiry into the cause of the spill, former Senator Bob Graham of Florida and William K. Reilly, a former Environmental Protection Agency administrator.

“If laws were broken, leading to death and destruction,” Mr. Obama said, “my solemn pledge is, we will bring those responsible to justice.”

Mr. Obama’s heightened rhetoric reflected deepening frustration within the administration at the inability of BP to stop the spill, along with wide concern that the government and Mr. Obama are appearing increasingly impotent as oil laps at the Louisiana shoreline with no end in near sight.

Mr. Obama said the commission will examine the disaster and its causes, and will make sure that the country never has to face anything like this again. A full investigation will occur, Mr. Obama said, before he allows any expansion of offshore oil drilling.

“Mr. Graham and Mr. Reilly,” Mr. Obama said, “have my full support to follow the facts wherever they may lead without fear or favor.”

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