President Obama, who is visiting Louisiana to monitor the growing oil spill on the U.S. Gulf Coast, says his administration has mounted a "relentless response."
"I think the American people are now aware - certainly the folks down in the Gulf are aware - that we're dealing with a massive and potentially unprecedentedÂ environmental disaster," Obama said in Venice, Louisiana, after a briefing with state, local and federal officials. "The oil that is still leaking from the well could seriously damage the economy and the environment of our Gulf states, and it could extend for a long time.
"It could jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of Americans who call this place home."
The president said the government would "spare no resource to clean up whatever damage is caused" and would "do what it takes for as long as it takes to stop this crisis."
"Let me be clear: [Well owner] BP is responsible for this leak. BP will be paying the bill. But as president of the United States, I'm going to spare no effort to respond to this crisis for as long as it continues," Obama said.
Obama met with the commandant of the Coast Guard, Adm. Thad Allen; EPA administrator Lisa Jackson; Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; and the presidents of several parish governments after arriving in Louisiana, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. The president's briefing included an update on the procedures being attempted to cap the well and the economic and environmental impact of the spill, Gibbs said.