President Barack Obama took to the Oval Office last night to assure the nation that BP will pay for spilling millions of gallons of oil in to the Gulf of Mexico.
Using strong language and sounding resolute but calm, Obama vowed to hold BP responsible for its actions.
"We will make BP pay," Obama said. "We will fight this spill with everything we've got for as long it takes," he added.
Obama announced a new head for the agency that oversees offshore drilling and is meeting with BP executives at the White House Wednesday morning. He also used the speech as a chance to push for a change in the nation's energy policies:
"The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean-energy future is now," Obama said. "I say we can't afford not to change how we produce and use energy, because the long-term costs to our economy, our national security and our environment are far greater."
It's no surprise that President Obama would take to the airwaves to address the catastrophe in the Gulf. The president has often used his oratory skills to communicate to the nation during difficult times, such as the health care reform debate and during the government bailout of the financial and auto industries.
I was disappointed, though, that Obama's speech did not detail how the spill will be stopped.
Oil has been spilling for 58 days. BP was not honest about the damage. Estimates show that more than 2.5 million gallons of oil per day may be spilling in to the Gulf. More than 116 million gallons may have spilled into the water thus far.
At this point, a panel of experts should be assembled at BP's expense to find a way to completely eliminate the leak. In addition, BP needs to make it easier for those affected by the spill to file claims and receive compensation.
Obama also did not spell out what would happen if BP resists. With the amount of money the company is going to have to pay, it might make more sense for BP to try to battle it out in court. There should be serious consequences if BP resists efforts to pay for the environmental and economic restoration of the Gulf.
We all know that the stage for this spill was set long before Obama came into office. Our unquenchable thirst for oil and lax management of the companies drilling for profit were issues before Obama was elected, but it is his problem now to deal with, and I hope he doesn't waste the opportunity to make change.
"The one approach I will not accept is inaction," Obama said. "The one answer I will not settle for is the idea that this challenge is somehow too big and too difficult to meet."
08-June-10 - Desiree Rogers, the former White House social secretary who "left" to seek greener pastures after a major security faux paux occurred under her watch, was recently hired by Johnson Publishing Co., the owners of Jet and Ebony magazines, as a consultant.
07-June-10 - A Seattle writer is angry beyond words, because late last month his 8-year-old child was removed from her honors elementary school class. No, the child did not misbehave. Instead, the little girl was guilty of using a hair moisturizer that allegedly annoyed her Caucasian teacher.
01-June-2010 - In an effort to tackle the latest crisis, the horrendous BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast, Bill Maher thinks Obama needs to act more like a "real black president" and go in to the BP meetings flashing his gat.
Aol Black Voices. is the premiere site for African American news, viewpoints, and community. Visit BV daily to get informed, connect through our profiles, and express yourself on our message boards. Get the latest coverage of black news, black entertainment, black stars, politics, black style and beauty, black relationships, money, and more. Share your voice at BV!