President Obama held a press conference on the Gulf oil spill where he covered the disaster and the broader issue of the decisions we must make as a society about the risks inherent with using oil.
The American people should know that from the moment this disaster began, the federal government has been in charge of the response effort. As far as I’m concerned, BP is responsible for this horrific disaster, and we will hold them fully accountable on behalf of the United States as well as the people and communities victimized by this tragedy. But make no mistake: BP is operating at our direction. Every key decision and action they take must be approved by us in advance.
After reading the report’s recommendations with Secretary Salazar and other members of my administration, we’re going to be ordering the following actions:
• First, we will suspend the planned exploration of two locations off the coast of Alaska
• Second, we will cancel the pending lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico and the proposed lease sale off the coast of Virginia.
• Third, we will continue the existing moratorium and suspend the issuance of new permits to drill new deepwater wells for six months.
• And four, we will suspend action on 33 deep water exploratory wells currently being drilled in the Gulf of Mexico
Let me make one broader point, though, about energy. The fact that oil companies now have to go a mile underwater and then drill another three miles below that in order to hit oil tells us something about the direction of the oil industry.
And as we are moving forward, the technology gets more complicated, the oil sources are more remote, and that means that there’s probably going to end up being more risk. And we as a society are going to have to make some very serious determinations in terms of what risks are we willing to accept.
The video and full transcript are linked here.