June 16, 2010
US President Barack Obama has warned Americans they faced a long battle against an “epidemic” of oil pollution in the Gulf of Mexico and called for a new “national mission” to wean the United States off fossil fuels.
In his debut prime-time address from the Oval Office, Obama also vowed to do whatever was necessary to help the people of the southern US coast recover from the disaster and unveiled a “battle plan” to clean up a massive oil slick.
The president, flanked by a US flag and a flag bearing the presidential seal, gave the speech after a three-state tour of the disaster zone, and as his administration faced renewed criticism of its response to the catastrophe.
“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,” Obama said, taking a hard line on BP which leased the Gulf of Mexico rig that blew up in April.