GRAND ISLE, La. (AP) - President Barack Obama says he is ordering an increase in manpower in the Gulf Coast to deal with the massive oil spill. Obama says he will triple the manpower in places where oil has already hit the shore or is within 24 hours of doing so.
The president says the increase will help contain the spill more quickly and minimize the amount of time oil is on the coastline. Obama is on his second trip to the region following the spill that started when an oil rig exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico April 20.
Obama inspects beach threatened by Gulf oil spill
Intent on showing firm command of a deepening Gulf Coast crisis, President Barack Obama inspected a fouled beach, took in what he called "heartbreaking stories" of the catastrophe and declared "we're going to keep at it" until the America's largest-ever oil spill is stopped and cleaned up.
"It's an assault on our shores, on our people, on the regional economy and on communities like this one," said Obama, from this small barrier island town south of New Orleans that is threatened by the massive oil leak. "People are watching their livelihoods wash up on the beach."
With more than 20,000 people already in the region working to contain and clean up the still-gushing crude, Obama announced he was tripling the manpower in places where oil has washed ashore or is about to.
"This is our highest priority and it deserves a response that is equal to the task," he said at a shoreside podium in front of a stretch of sparkling blue, unmarred water. Before he spoke, dolphins and fish could be seen gliding through the water and seabirds frequently fluttered past.
Obama to Gulf: 'You are not alone'
President Obama has promised Gulf Coast residents that they are not alone and will not be abandoned or left behind. Obama made the pledge as he visited Louisiana on Friday to tour areas threatened by the disastrous oil spill and get an update on response efforts.
Speaking outside a Coast Guard station on a barrier island, Obama said he had a message for residents. He said: "I'm here to tell you that you are not alone, you will not be abandoned, you will not be left behind. The media may get tired of the story but we will not. We will be on your side and we will see this through."
The promise might sound familiar to Gulf Coast residents who heard previous presidents - such as former President George W. Bush after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.